Melissa Fleming

head of communications UNHCR

As Head of Communications and Chief Spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Melissa Fleming leads all communications efforts around the globe and serves as chief spokesperson. Operating in 120 countries, UNHCR provides shelter and help for over 30 million people who have fled wars and persecution.

In her role, Ms Fleming has introduced strategic communication planning designed to have impact on target audiences, which include media, donors, governments and refugees themselves. She leads global media outreach and campaigns. A leader in social media engagement, she encourages staff on the front lines to bear witness through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. To garner support for a humanitarian cause, she believes communications must be designed to not only inform, but to generate empathy and giving.

She joined UNHCR from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), where she served for eight years as Spokesperson and Head of Press and Public Information during the period the organisation made headlines for its inspection work in Iraq, Iran and North Korea and won the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize. Prior to IAEA, she headed the Press and Information team at the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

A graduate of Boston University (M.S. Journalism) and Oberlin College (B.A. German), Melissa Fleming began her career as a journalist, then worked as a public affairs specialist with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

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