Who are the Top 100 famous Britons who care about refugees?
October 11, 2021 1:59 AM   Subscribe

A friend of mine, a survivor of one of the most infamous 20th century genocides, has written an extraordinary account of his survival and journey to the UK as a refugee. Now he wants to reach out to 100 well-known British people to help him to promote his book.

He has had huge success in promoting his story in the media and through various charities and religious organisations, but he would now like to send copies of his book to 100 well-known Britons who may be able to help raise its profile. His story really is incredible, and very relevant to the current situation with refugees from Afghanistan, so I want to do all I can to help him get it out there.

Who should be on his list of 100?

The list could include anyone - journalists, bloggers, politicians, religious leaders, actors, singers, sports stars, public intellectuals - as long as they are people who are passionate about supporting refugees. They may be on the left politically, have spoken out against racism or Islamophobia, or just have a reputation for being the kind of person who wants to help others and build a better world.

Thank you!
posted by matthew.alexander to Society & Culture (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Michael Marmot.
posted by lulu68 at 2:26 AM on October 11, 2021

Best answer: Alf Dubs
posted by crocomancer at 2:52 AM on October 11, 2021

Best answer: Emma Thompson, and her son who she adopted as an older child refugee.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 3:12 AM on October 11, 2021

Best answer: Gary Lineker for sure.
posted by Hartster at 4:09 AM on October 11, 2021

Best answer: When you say "Britons" - must they be CURRENTLY living in Britain, or can they be someone who was born in the UK but currently lives elsewhere?

Because David Miliband might be ideal - he not only was once the UK Foreign Secretary, he currently is the CEO of the International Rescue Committee. He currently lives in New York City, however (working out of the IRC's base there) so I don't know if that would disqualify him.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:23 AM on October 11, 2021

Response by poster: To clarify, we're looking for people who have influence in Britain, so David Miliband would certainly qualify. Obviously someone like the Obamas may have influence in Britain too, but not being British they may find my friend's story less interesting to them. So we're looking for people who have influence and would also be interested, if that makes sense!

All great answers so far, thank you!
posted by matthew.alexander at 4:49 AM on October 11, 2021

Best answer: You could try looking at Who's Who's site (https://www.ukwhoswho.com) - searching under career, refugees should give you a good start.
posted by eyeofthetiger at 5:04 AM on October 11, 2021

Neil Gaiman tweets regularly about more support for refugees, and often signal boosts on twitter
posted by wooh at 5:49 AM on October 11, 2021 [2 favorites]

I'm not sure which charities your friend has worked with so far, but patrons and trustees on boards are certainly going to have some influence in this sphere (especially since you're unlikely to get anywhere with the current resident of the Home Office). The Refugee Council features Emma Thompson as mentioned above, but also novelist Hari Kunzru; those lending their names to charities like Refugee Action, NACCOM and the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants would be likely stepping stones to getting this story up the chain and further out to a wider audience.

It might also help if we knew which of the "most infamous 20th century genocides" your friend escape from, as national ties might be leveraged here as well.
posted by Ten Cold Hot Dogs at 6:09 AM on October 11, 2021

There's a list of 70 names of celebs of various stripes on the bottom of this letter to the PM about child refugee family reunification, which should give you a great head start.

Some of them, like Stephen Fry, are probably constantly bombarded with requests for publicity but you never know, worth a shot.

I'd say both Milliband brothers, not just David (grandsons of refugees).
posted by penguin pie at 6:28 AM on October 11, 2021 [2 favorites]

Once you have 1 influential person, ask for referrals. Look for contacts in your friends, your friends' friends. People get inundated with requests, access is difficult.
posted by theora55 at 6:31 AM on October 11, 2021 [2 favorites]

Few thoughts from people I follow on Twitter: Owen Jones and Ash Sarkar (lefty activists/journalists, have written in support of refugees before). Maybe Gary Younge (ex-Guardian editor-at-large, now professor of sociology, but his writing is more about the Black experience in the USA).

I assume you're well across people like Amnesty, Human Rights Watch?

And yes, would be helpful to know which genocide - could help focus the answers.
posted by Pink Frost at 3:35 PM on October 11, 2021

Maybe Hilary Mantel. Mark Thomas. Oliver Jeffers. Matthew Kneale (his mother, Judith Kerr, was a refugee). Grayson Perry. Ken Loach. Jo Brand. Zadie Smith.
posted by paduasoy at 7:22 PM on October 11, 2021

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