On Thursday April 6, 2017 the UN Refugee Agency announced actress Kristin Davis as Goodwill Ambassador. The UNHCR’s Filippo Grandi welcomed Ms. Davis into the new role saying “Kristin’s advocacy helps us humanize the refugee issue and press the case for a more positive narrative about refugees; both their need for protection and support but also their contribution to communities.”
Ms. Davis has been active with the UNHCR for over three years visiting refugees in camps in sub-Saharan Africa and through advocacy and fundraising. On one of her recent trips to refugee camps in Rwanda, Ms. Davis met a young Congolese mother, Catherine, and her disabled daughter Makena. On her December 2016 visit, Ms. Davis bonded with Catherine and her child discussing her life in the Congo, her time in the refugee camp, and her aspirations to join her family in America. Catherine’s parents and siblings were resettled in Lexington, KY with the Kentucky Refugee Ministries in the fall of 2016 while Catherine remained awaiting for a date-of-travel to the US. On January 24, 2017, Catherine and her daughter finally touched down at Blue Grass Airport to joyously join her family members after months apart.
In February 2017, the UNHCR reached out to the Kentucky Refugee Ministries’ director Mary Cobb to inquire about Catherine and set up a visit with Kristin Davis. Ms. Davis arrived in Lexington on a beautiful March afternoon to reunite with Catherine and Makena, to meet her parents and siblings, and see how Catherine was adjusting to her new life in America. Catherine excitedly welcomed Ms. Davis to her home and introduced her family and KRM staff members. Catherine and her sisters prepared a delicious Congolese meal to share with Ms. Davis, who visited with the family for several hours.
Ms. Davis and Catherine had ample time to catch up and to welcome Makena home from day care. KRM staff members also explained to Ms. Davis the work of the agency, scope of refugee arrivals in Kentucky, and the welcoming efforts of the Lexington community. Additionally, Ms. Davis recounted her time with Catherine in the Rwandan refugee camp in December. She remarked on how changed and happy Catherine seems surrounded by loved ones and in her new home. Catherine is currently attending English language classes and cultural orientations at KRM and is preparing for employment.
Speaking about her time in Lexington Kristin said “I loved meeting with the amazing team in KRM. Their work to support resettled families across every part of their new lives is so astounding and supportive. It’s great to know that people like Mary and the KRM team are out there doing such great work.”
Kristin Davis is a true friend and advocate of refugees. The Kentucky Refugee Ministries congratulates her on her new role as UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador and welcomes her to Kentucky always!