With a huge fan base all over the world, the acclaimed designer Peter Gould, is raising funds for UNHCR as an ambassador for Australia for UNHCR. Peter has been a consistent advocate of refugees ever since his travels to far and distant lands, before they were ravaged by conflict. We are proud to support Peter as a Crescent Community Ambassador raising funds for UNHCR.
We interviewed him to understand what his motivations are and why he’s passionate about supporting refugees.
Tell us a little about yourself and why you do what you do?
My name is Peter Gould, and I lead a strategic design team based in Sydney, Dubai, Jakarta and Beirut called Gould Studio. We advocate for ‘heart-centered design’ to create meaningful brands, cross-cultural understanding, and spiritually-inspired positive change, and have worked with clients such as Greenpeace, United Nations, Dubai Culture, LaunchGood, and numerous others.
We use design research and a deep understanding of Muslim audiences to help – and create – brands and experiences for a more inclusive and representative world.
Since the summer of 2020, I have also been privileged to be an ambassador for Australia for UNHCR – the UN Refugee Agency’s national partner in Australia. In this role, I have helped to raise awareness and support for the organisation’s emergency work during humanitarian crises; especially among the Australian Muslim community.
What is the cause you are raising funding for today?
As one of its ambassadors, the cause I’m helping to raise funds for is Australia for UNHCR. As well as delivering humanitarian relief to displaced families around the world, UNHCR advocates and fundraises for refugee protection, emergency aid, and long-term support and solutions – reaching millions of displaced people each year.
Through its work, Australia for UNHCR unites Australians from all walks of life, from individuals and families to community groups and businesses, allied by their common drive to help those who have been forced out of their homes. homes, families and countries by conflict and persecution.
Why does raising funds for this matter to you and the organisation you are supporting?
Nobody chooses to be a refugee, but we can all choose to contribute to the protection of the 84 million forcibly displaced people around the world. They are in urgent need of support, wherever they are in the world, and the funds raised by UNHCR are critical to providing this support quickly and effectively.
The numbers are staggering, and the reports from the field are simply heartbreaking. No doubt we’ve all seen images from Ukraine in recent weeks, as well as the ongoing crises in Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria, Ethiopia, and elsewhere. It’s impossible not to be moved, and feel the need to do something. Anything. This is why raising funds for the UNHCR matters so much. Whether rushing life-saving aid to civilians fleeing the frontlines of conflict, or supporting longer-term projects in education or vocational training, the UNHCR is standing with these refugees and other displaced people on what can sometimes be a decades-long journey to safety.
How will the funds you raise measurably impact lives? and how many lives?
The money we raise for Australia for UNHCR will be used in different ways in different places according to the emergency and the need it has created. But each time, it will go towards providing life-saving protection and vital support, whether that’s in the form of food, shelter, clothing, heating, medical care, access to education, or essential services.
For example, when 3 million refugees fled Ukraine in less than three weeks, UNHCR delivered emergency supplies such as sleeping mats and hygiene kits – both within Ukraine and in neighbouring countries. It is also working with humanitarian partners to establish and operate reception centres that provide cash and assistance, and help authorities to protect the most vulnerable, such as unaccompanied children.
In Yemen, where six years of conflict has left more than 20 million people needing humanitarian assistance amid one of the worst famines the world has seen for decades, UNHCR has helped provide emergency health care and nutrition, as well as vital protection, cash assistance, and relief items.
And across the Middle East and North Africa, UNHCR provides thermal blankets, plastic sheets, winter clothes, shelter, and drainage and infrastructure as part of its Winter Survival Fund, as swathes of displaced people battle against treacherous conditions such as heavy rain and snow.
The list of emergencies, appeals, and ongoing care projects goes on – unsurprising, given the 48 million internally displaced people, 26.6 million refugees, 4.4 million asylum seekers, and 4.3 million stateless people; 32 million of whom are children.
What’s distinct about the organisation’s work?
When an emergency is declared, UNHCR is on the ground to ensure that people forced to flee can find safety and assistance, whether in their own country or another.
With aid and experts ready for rapid deployment across the world, UNHCR can launch an emergency operation within 72 hours, thanks to a global network of suppliers, specialist agencies and partners.
This means UNHCR is often the first in and last out during a humanitarian crisis, when speed of response can be critical to the wellbeing of those who have been displaced.
Why should we support this cause as opposed to all the other important causes that the world is suffering from now?
There are so many worthy and important causes that need our attention today, and the number of charities, initiatives and organisations that people have dedicated their lives to setting up and running is a testament to their overwhelming compassion and desire to do good in this world.
I truly believe, though, that supporting refugees and displaced people is of the utmost urgency at present. Not only because of the number of people involved, but also the levels to which they are being affected – especially the children, many of whom have known nothing by desperation in their young lives so far.
During a recent webinar, UNHCR Assistant High Commission for Protection, Gillian Triggs said that the organisation is currently responding to 40 emergencies, 21 of which are new, and that “we’ve never had this level of conflict and displacement”. This shows just how important Australia for UNHCR’s work is. They need to be able to respond quickly, with the right supplies and expertise, no matter when or where the need arises. Let alone providing continuous support to those who need it the most – an undertaking that requires their own support from people who believe in their work to protect, assist, and empower millions of refugees and displaced people around the world.
Australia for UNHCR is the UN Refugee Agency’s national partner in Australia. It delivers humanitarian relief to displaced people around the world, providing support and protection during emergency crises, as well as ongoing care for the millions who have been forced out of their homes, families and countries by conflict and persecution.
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Ethical Finance and Innovation
Dr. Sayd Farook is the Executive Director of Crescent Foundation. He is Group Chief Operating Officer of Crescent Wealth and Managing Director of Crescent Finance. He previously served as Advisor to the Executive Office of the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. In this capacity, he envisioned and executed strategic / transformation initiatives for Dubai and the UAE. Prior to that, he was the Global Head Islamic Capital Markets at Thomson Reuters, where he advised and served large corporates, multilaterals and governments in the Middle East, North Africa and South East Asia.