The refugee crisis is one of the most urgent humanitarian issues the world has faced, and 2016 in particular, was one of the toughest years on record for displaced people. Not since WW II have we seen so many people forced to flee their own countries. And yet, the indifference towards and the prejudice against refugees continued to grow. At this crucial moment, Amnesty International came to us with a huge challenge: bring awareness to the refugee cause, ignite a positive conversation, and engage the world to support refugees.
For the first time ever, a refugee team was going to compete in the Olympics. There were athletes with no national team, no flag, no anthem to call their own - until we gave them one.
We partnered with refugees across the globe to create a flag and an anthem to represent the athletes. The Refugee Nation flag was designed by Yara Said, a Syrian refugee artist. According to Yara: “Orange and black is a symbol of solidarity for all the brave souls who had to wear life vests to cross the sea, looking for safety in a new country.” The artist herself wore a life vest when escaping war.
The Refugee Nation Anthem was written by Moutaz Arian, a Syrian refugee composer. He wrote the anthem with no words, so its melody would resonate across all borders and all languages.
The flag and the anthem gave an identity to those who would be otherwise invisible, and turned a team of ten into a team of millions, all in support of the 65 million displaced people worldwide.