Philanthropist Sheikha Rima Al-Sabah, wife of Kuwaiti Ambassador to the United States Sheikh Salem Al-Sabah, has been appointed as the UN refugee agency's (UNHCR) newest National Goodwill Ambassador. Speaking to KUNA, Sheikha Rima said that she plans to raise awareness and mobilize support for refugees namely the Syrians.
"UNHCR and its partners provide life-saving assistance on the ground to the most vulnerable of the vulnerable and it is my passion to help," said Sheikha Rima, adding that "as the war in Syria enters its' fourth year, there are now more than 3.8 million Syrians who have fled their country because of the terrible war. Kuwait is playing a key and leading role among Arab nations in providing support to UN Agencies especially the UNHCR and the broader humanitarian community's life-saving emergency operations.
"I am honored to be a Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR, an organization that has long been close to my heart and one that assists millions worldwide who are fleeing war and conflict," said Sheikha Rima, who was formally welcomed into the UN family by Shelly Pitterman, UNHCR's Regional Representative to the US and the Caribbean.
Pitterman said that Sheikha Rima had shown "unwavering commitment to humanitarian issues and a genuine commitment to help those in need" through her philanthropic and fundraising work in Washington, DC, that has helped raise millions of dollars to fight malaria, build schools and fund hospitals for children.
"I am confident that, as UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, your dedication and passion for philanthropy will help mobilize further life-saving support and resources for our work globally and particularly the mega-crisis in the Middle East," said Pitterman.
Sheikha Rima is the founder and chairman of the Kuwait-America Foundation's annual gala dinner that has raised more than USD 16 million for various causes and organizations. In 2005, Sheikha Rima raised funds for USA for UNHCR, the independent fundraising charity for UNHCR, to assist Iraqi women and children refugees.
The announcement of her official role comes as the international humanitarian community faces the highest level of forced displacement since the end of World War II. War and conflict have forced more than 51 million people to flee their homes, including almost four million Syrians who have become refugees.