Somali journalist and former refugee Abdullahi Mire has won the 2023 UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award.

UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), the UN Refugee Agency, is a global organization dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for people forced to flee their homes because of conflict and persecution. Named after the Norwegian explorer and humanitarian Fridtjof Nansen, the award is supported by the Governments of Norway and Switzerland, IKEA Foundation, and the City and Canton of Geneva.

Mire will be the UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award’s 2023 global laureate due to his championing of the right to education. By opening an organization in Kenya specifically directed toward refugee children, Mire has been able to provide 100,000 books to refugee children in Kenya

Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, remarked that Mire is an inspiration to all: “Abdullahi Mire is living proof that transformative ideas can spring from within displaced communities. He has shown great resourcefulness and tenacity in strengthening the quality of refugee education.”

Born in Somalia, Mire grew up in the Dadaab refugee camps in Kenya. He was eventually resettled to Norway, but yearned to serve his community and went back to Kenya. He found work in Kenya as a journalist and set up the Refugee Youth Education Hub in 2018, a refugee-led organization that has opened three libraries in the camps – stocked with donated books – and expanded learning opportunities for tens of thousands of displaced children and youth.

Mire commented that this award belongs to a lot of people, not just him: “The win is not for me alone. It is for all the volunteers I work with… It is for the children in the schools.”

The award will be presented at a ceremony in Geneva on December 23 at the Global Refugee Forum 2023. It will be livestreamed as well.

Congrats to Mire!