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Rokia Traoré named UNHCR Regional Goodwill Ambassador

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Monday March 21, 2016

From Nonesuch

Rokia Traoré Named UNHCR Regional Goodwill Ambassador

Malian singer-songwriter Rokia Traoré has been named a Regional Goodwill Ambassador for West and Central Africa for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. As a Regional Goodwill Ambassador, Traoré joins an influential group of high-profile supporters who spread awareness and boost support for UNHCR around the world.

“It is an honor to take on this role at such a vital time for refugees,” said Traoré, after receiving the official nomination on Sunday, March 20.

Born in the Malian capital of Bamako, Traoré has been working with the UN Refugee Agency since 2013 to raise awareness about the forcibly displaced, particularly in Africa. She has visited Malian refugees in Burkina Faso, performed at UNHCR’s annual Nansen Refugee Award Ceremony in Geneva in 2014, and supported the agency’s IBelong campaign to end statelessness by 2024.

To mark her appointment as Goodwill Ambassador, Traoré has released a special video of the title track from her new album Né So, which means “Home” in her native Bambara language. It is dedicated to Malian refugees as well as those displaced around the world. You can watch it below. Traoré committed to voice the plight of her compatriots after her visit to Burkina Faso on World Refugee Day in 2014. As of today, there are almost 145,000 Malian refugees in Burkina Faso, Mauritania, and Niger and 52,000 internally displaced people within Mali itself.

“I have witnessed thousands of displaced people within Mali and refugees in neighboring countries who have been forced to leave behind their homes, their families and everything they know”, she said. “They are not alone. As the world continues to witness record numbers of people forcibly displaced by war and conflict, I am grateful to be able to play a part in spotlighting this unprecedented refugee crisis as a Goodwill Ambassador.”

Traoré brings her Né So tour to the United States for three performances this week: Highline Ballroom in New York City on Tuesday, Lisner Auditorium in DC on Friday, and the Savannah Music Festival on Saturday.