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Source: United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
26 June 2013

UNRWA Commissioner-General welcomes singer,
Mohammad Assaf, to UNRWA headquarters in Gaza

26 June 2013

Arabic text:

The Commissioner General of UNRWA, Filippo Grandi, welcomed Arab Idol winner, Mohammad Assaf, to UNRWA headquarters in Gaza, and thanked him for accepting the role of UNRWA’s first ever “Regional Youth Ambassador for Palestine Refugees”. Speaking in front of hundreds of UNRWA staff, Grandi said Mohammad “had brought us all together in a rare moment of celebration”.

Mohammad had accepted the UNRWA appointment well before his final victory in Beirut “without hesitation”, saying that he was determined to serve UNRWA and the Palestine refugees “as best he could”.

During the meeting in Gaza, Mohammad Assaf said “I am extremely proud for being named UNRWA’s youth ambassador for Palestine refugees. I give my solemn promise to UNRWA and the refugee youth to be an effective representative to them”.

Grandi added, “we are all truly proud that a young man who received his education in an UNRWA school in the Khan Younis refugee camp in Gaza and whose family has a long association with UNRWA has emerged onto the world stage to such universal acclaim. His golden voice speaks to and for all of us. He is indeed an ambassador: for his generation and for his people. It with great joy that I can say to you all, he is now also an UNRWA ambassador for Palestine Refugees.

– Ends –

Background information

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some five million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.

Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at US$ 65 million.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
UNRWA Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0267

Sami Mshasha
UNRWA Arabic Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0724

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