What is the UNHCR?

The UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) is the leader in refugee crisis management and aid. Responsible for the speedy transportation of people and supplies to and from warzones or areas of civil unrest, no UN agency does more work in fighting for refugee rights and protecting those at risk.

Created in 1950 in the aftermath of World War 2 to help millions of Europeans who had lost their homes, the UNHCR, or UN Refugee Agency, has historically played a critical role in refugee aid and awareness. Often the first to assist during a crisis, UNHCR is responsible for aiding refugees and displaced persons any way it can around the globe. Some of the many duties involve arranging transportation out of a crisis area, providing shelter, fresh water, blankets, and other supplies to those without, managing the voluntary repatriation of refugees to another country, and aiding those who have resettled in finding work. One of the top three sources of donations given to the UNHCR goes directly towards the education of refugee children. Find out more about the UNHCR’s many duties by visiting their website, https://www.unhcr.org/.


To aid them in the challenge of supporting the world’s most at-risk community, the UNHCR has warehouses stocked with supplies around the world, strategically placed to be quickly transported to warzones, areas of intense political or social upheaval or poorer countries caught up in a conflict. However, these challenges cannot be faced alone. For that reason, UNHCR relies upon sister agencies such as the WFP, UNICEF, or OCHA to raise awareness and support for the refugee cause. They also raise awareness themselves by establishing programs such as StepWithRefugees, Nobody Left Outside, and #iBelong. Each program helps bring refugee issues to the forefront of world media, giving refugees the attention they deserve in times of conflict.


The Center brings refugees to the forefront of American minds every year on June 20th, when it hosts an annual celebration for World Refugee Day, commemorating all those who have sacrificed their livelihoods and way of life in search of a better one.


Join us for our virtual walk, “A Walk in Their Words”, as we explore refugee and immigrant stories through audio clips. All proceeds will support agencies across New York State that serve refugees and immigrants and have experienced recent funding cuts.