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July 19, 2022

USA for UNHCR Seeks Nominations for the Gene Dewey Refugee Award

Night falls over the refugees and migrants in makeshift shelters and tents in an olive grove next to Moria reception center on Lesvos.

USA for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is seeking nominations for the Gene Dewey Refugee Award to recognize an individual who has demonstrated visionary leadership and extraordinary dedication to help people forcibly displaced from their homes. 

The award is named for Arthur “Gene” Dewey, in recognition of his leadership and lifetime commitment to serving and protecting refugees. Gene Dewey is a co-founder of USA for UNHCR and a former UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees. In the 1980s, Dewey served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary in the State Department’s Bureau for Refugee Programs and was subsequently named a United Nations Assistant Secretary-General.

“We look forward to honoring an individual who exemplifies values of excellence in leadership, compassion, courage and conviction in service to refugees, just as Gene Dewey has done throughout his remarkable career,” said Anne-Marie Grey, Executive Director and CEO of USA for UNHCR.

Gene Dewey accepts the inaugural Gene Dewey Refugee Award.

In addition to the award, the Gene Dewey Refugee Award Fund has been established to allow individuals to honor award recipients and the values they represent in a tangible way. During the year of their award, awardees will designate gifts donated in their honor to a specific UNHCR program or USA for UNHCR project.


Nominees should display courage, selflessness, sacrifice, humility and, perhaps, risk in their work on behalf of refugees and others forced to flee their homes. The ideal nominee:

  • Shows through work and actions, an extraordinary commitment to participating in or promoting activities that benefit refugees and forcibly displaced people; promote greater awareness and understanding of their plight; and as a result, have had a direct positive impact in their lives.
  • Displays selfless commitment to the forcibly displaced beyond normal duties and responsibilities. 
  • Exhibits compassion and concern for refugees and displaced people.
  • Advocates for refugees and displaced people and promotes understanding and respect for them.
  • Displays tenacity in standing with refugees and forcibly displaced and stateless people.

Go to the Gene Dewey Refugee Award submission form to submit your nomination. Your submission should include:

    • Rationale as to why nominee deserves this award
    • Evidence of humanitarian accomplishments
    • Two references
    • Name and contact information of who submitted the nominee
    • Note: During the selection process, we will confirm that the nominee can attend an in-person event on September 17, 2022 in New York City and is willing to be featured in materials related to the event such as video, blog, etc.

All submissions are due by August 5, 2022.


If you have any questions, please contact

About USA for UNHCR

USA for UNHCR helps and protects refugees and people displaced by violence, conflict and persecution. Supporting UNHCR – the UN Refugee Agency – and its partners, we provide lifesaving essentials including shelter, water, food, safety and protection. Around the world, we help refugees survive, recover and build a better future. Together, we give refugees the hope they deserve, restore their dignity and help them rebuild their lives.

Established by concerned American citizens, USA for UNHCR is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. For more information, visit