World Refugee Day: Every Action Counts (Global Engagement Online Series)

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01:00 pm


Online Web Event, 1pm ET



In recognition of World Refugee Day and in collaboration with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, this event will feature stories from a variety of perspectives within the refugee realm.

Bear witness to the daily struggle of refugees from Ann Encontre, UNHCR’s Country Representative in Ethiopia; be inspired by Omar Bah, a former refugee resettled in Rhode Island where he has joined the fight against COVID-19 in his community; and hear from Chris Boian, UNHCR spokesperson, who can offer additional glimpses of UNHCR’s work to provide dignity, hope, and new beginnings to refugees around the world. Audience members will have the opportunity to pose questions to each of the storytellers during a question and answer session.



Featured Speakers:

Chris Boian, UNHCR Spokesperson

Chris Boian is spokesperson in the United States and the Caribbean for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency). Based in Washington, DC, Chris works with journalists, policymakers, students, prominent advocates and many others to help bring timely, accurate information to the public discussion about people forced to flee their homes to escape war, violence and persecution. Prior to joining UNHCR, Chris spent three decades overseas as a news correspondent covering conflict and security issues in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.


Omar Bah, Executive Director of the Refugee Dream Center

Omar Bah is the founder and executive director of the Refugee Dream Center. Bah is the winner of several awards, and is the author of the book, Africa’s Hell on Earth: The Ordeal of an African Journalist. He is a staunch advocate of refugee and immigrant rights. He currently teaches Global Mental Health both at William James College, and at the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma. Omar is a trained master’s level mental health counselor, and will receive his doctoral degree in Leadership Psychology with focus on neuropsychology of leadership, in August 2020. He has great interest in trauma and recovery. He is a member of the Global Advisory Board of the Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies at the Watson Institute for International & Public Affairs of Brown University.


Ms. Ann Encontre, Representative, UNHCR Representation in Ethiopia

Ms. Ann Encontre assumed her functions as the Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Ethiopia on 3 October 2019. Prior to her arrival, Ms. Encontre was the Regional Representative of UNHCR based in Kinshasa, covering the DR Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Republic of Congo and São Tomé e Príncipe. At the same time, she was the Regional Refugee Coordinator for the DRC Refugee Situation. Hailing from Guyana, Ms. Encontre has a background in law, and has been working with UNHCR for over 25 years.

Prior to joining the UNHCR’s Regional Office in Kinshasa, Ms. Encontre was Deputy Director of the Regional Bureau for Africa at UNHCR’s Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Before that appointment, she served as UNHCR Representative in Cote d’Ivoire and Djibouti, as well as UNHCR Head of Sub-Office in Farchana, Chad, and Juba, South Sudan (then Sudan). Ms. Encontre has held protection, external relations and resource mobilization functions at UNHCR Headquarters, and in field locations in Angola, Russia, Sierra Leone, and Yemen, including emergency missions.

Before joining the UN, Ms. Encontre held various public and private sector legal roles in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and in Switzerland. She worked as Supervisor of Elections, Registrar of the High Court and Registrar of International Business Companies with the Government of the BVI; she worked with a law firm in Geneva; and later with UNCTAD and ILO.

Ms. Encontre is married to Pierre Encontre, an Economist, and they have two children; Henri and Clarisse.

Ms. Encontre is fluent in English and French.