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The UNHCR’s new vision to “help refugees thrive, not just survive” requires dismantling harmful narratives and shifting public perceptions of refugees.

Refugee issues are a “hotbed of populist rhetoric, fear and misinformation,” says chief spokesperson Melissa Fleming, complicating already difficult work for humanitarians and advocacy groups.

Fleming’s communications strategy includes messaging around individuals—statistics can be numbing—and targeting the “conflicted middle” between the 15% of the population who are core supporters and 50% who are “hatefully anti.” Fleming also wants to provide concrete ways for supporters to get involved.

The Quote: “We want to build empathy for refugees and we want to drive action.”


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