UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency announced the appointment of business executive and entrepreneur, Javed Afridi, as UNHCR Pakistan’s Refugee Youth Ambassador in the margins of the first Global Refugee Forum at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.
Javed Afridi was awarded the Hilal-e-Imtiaz by the President of Pakistan for his philanthropic efforts and sports diplomacy work earlier this year. He is the Chief Executive Officer of Haier Pakistan and the owner of the cricket franchise Peshawar Zalmi and Benoni Zalmi in the T20 Global League of South Africa.
“I feel elated, privileged and inspired by this opportunity to raise my voice in favour of refugee youth and serve humanity,” said Javed Afridi.
The Minister of State for States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) and Narcotics, H.E. Mr. Shehryar Afridi, and UNHCR Representative in Pakistan, Ms. Ruvendrini Menikdiwela, presented Javed Afridi with an appointment certificate. UNHCR Director of the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, Mr. Indrika Ratwatte, also participated in the appointment ceremony.
Javed Afridi said that as UNHCR Pakistan Refugee Youth Ambassador, he will work hard to empower youth in Pakistan by enabling them to showcase their talent. “I’ll make all necessary efforts to promote and work for the betterment of youth in Pakistan,” he said.
At the Global Refugee Forum, a range of stakeholders, including the business community, have gathered to make commitments to extend their support to refugees around the world. As a representative of the private sector, Javed Afridi pledged to hire 25 refugees and 25 Pakistanis in one of his companies, as well as train 50 refugee youth and 50 Pakistani youth through cricket coaching camps.
He added that many Afghan players learned to play cricket in Pakistan. “I’ll engage Afghan refugee youth in sports because sports bring people and nations together,” he noted. UNHCR Representative in Pakistan lauded the newly appointed UNHCR Pakistan Refugee Youth Ambassador for supporting the refugee cause.
“Javed Afridi will be instrumental in contributing to our efforts to empower young Pakistanis and refugees alike,” she said. She noted that Pakistan hosts 1.4 million Afghan refugees, the majority of whom are the second or third generation to be born in Pakistan. Out of the 1.4 million registered Afghan refugees, approximately two-thirds are children and youth who are 24 years old or younger.
UNHCR Representative in Pakistan said several projects are being implemented by UNHCR to empower youth through education and skills development.