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UN Refugee Agency Appoints NIST Alumna as Goodwill Ambassador

Jared Kuruzovich Director of Communications, NIST International School, Thailand


Praya Lundberg in Jordan. Image Courtesy of UNHCR Thailand

Over the twenty-five years since NIST International School first opened its doors, the school's connection with the United Nations has always influenced its growth and vision. These shared values are now especially exemplified through Praya Lundberg (Class of 2007); at the end of January 2017, she was appointed to be a Goodwill Ambassador by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Also known as the UN Refugee Agency, the UNHCR is tasked to “lead and coordinate international action for the worldwide protection of refugees and the resolution of refugee problems.” With the global refugee crisis reaching epidemic proportions that have been compounded by a wave of isolationism, promoting diversity, tolerance, and empathy has become more important than ever. Goodwill Ambassadors for the UN Refugee Agency are

selected not only for their status as well-recognized public figures but also for their dedication to raising awareness of these issues. Praya represents the first Thai Goodwill Ambassador, and she is the first to ever be appointed for the Southeast Asian region. She will be joining other well-known figures and UNHCR ambassadors including Angelina Jolie, Cate Blanchett, Jung Woo-sung, and Yao Chen in campaigning for refugee rights.

Praya’s efforts, while concentrated on refugee populations in Thailand, will encompass other areas of Asia as well.

Within the first week after assuming her role, Praya began making a strong impact. Following her initial address at the UNHCR Thailand, where she highlighted the importance of recognizing the plight of displaced populations, Praya flew to Jordan. From February 6–8 she visited the Zaatari and Azraq refugee camps, interacting with and comforting families displaced by the Syrian Civil War.

As a NIST graduate who completed the IB Diploma Programme, Praya embodies the ideals of international education and NIST’s own mission to inspire, empower, and enrich lives. In a TEDx talk delivered at the school in 2015, she described how NIST’s diverse community influenced her personal growth, as well as the ways that it led to her passion for service. NIST and other not-for-profit international schools strongly emphasize the role of service and global mindedness in learning, aiming to create global citizens who make a positive impact in their communities.

This drive to make a difference in the world lies at the heart of a NIST education. The school is proud that Praya and so many other NIST alumni continue to seek ways to advocate for those whose voices otherwise may not be heard.

Published in ISS NewsLinks: Volume XXXII Number 3

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