Melissa Fleming sheds light on their devastating plight and remarkable resilience of refugees.

Why you should listen

Almost 60 million people in the world today have been forcefully displaced from their home - a level not seen since WWII. As many as four million Syrian refugees have sought refuge in neighboring countries. In Lebanon, half of these refugees are children; only 20 percent are in school.

Melissa Fleming, Head of Communications and Spokesperson for the High Commissioner at UN's High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), calls on all of us to make sure that refugee camps are healing places where people can develop the skills they'll need to rebuild their hometowns. Investing in this, she says, may well be the most effective relief effort there is. This inspires her and the teams at the UNHCR to tell stories of the individuals who are displaced.

Fleming's 2017 book, A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea, was born out of the story of Doaa Al Zamel, told her in TED Talk.

Fleming was named senior advisor and spokesperson for UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, in October 2016. In 2019, Guterres appointed her as the next UN Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications.

Melissa Fleming’s TED talks

More news and ideas from Melissa Fleming

In Brief

How small lies turn into big lies, what everyday objects tell us about inequality, and robots that lend a helping hand during disasters

November 4, 2016

Just a few of the intriguing headlines involving members of the TED community this week: The cascading effect of small lies. Tali Sharot is the senior author on a paper published in Nature Neuroscience that sheds light on the possible slippery-slope effect of telling small, self-serving lies. Using an fMRI scanning device to monitor the […]

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