Celebrating World Refugee Day – Visa and WeAreTheCity announce the Visa Everywhere Pioneer 20

World Refugee Day is an international day designated by the United Nations to honour refugees around the globe. It falls each year on June 20 and celebrates the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their home country to escape conflict or persecution. World Refugee Day is an occasion to build empathy and understanding for their plight and to recognize their resilience in rebuilding their lives.

By the end of 2022, the number of forcibly displaced people and stateless people in Europe rose to 21.8 million50% of which are women and girls, facing gender discrimination in addition to the many other issues refugees face day to day. Every minute 20 people leave everything behind to escape war, persecution.

The theme of 2023’s World Refugee Day is hope away from home: a world in which refugees are always included.

World Refugee Day was first celebrated on June 20, 2001 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.

This year, to celebrate World Refugee Day 2023, WeAreTheCity is collaborating with Visa, a world leader in digital payments, to announce the launch of the Visa Everywhere Pioneer 20. The list will shine a spotlight on 20 trailblazing refugee women living in Europe, who excel in their respective fields and have a meaningful impact in their new communities.

We want to acknowledge and celebrate women who are making significant contributions to society, uplifting these incredibly resilient individuals and providing hope and role models to the refugee community

Katherine Brown, Head of Inclusive Impact and Sustainability, Europe at Visa

WeAreTheCity are delighted to partner with Visa and introduce the new Visa Everywhere Pioneer 20. This is a fantastic opportunity to shine a spotlight on these incredible women, and recognise their resillience and contributions to their communities.

Vanessa Vallely OBE, Founder of WeAreTheCity

Business Fights Poverty are hugely proud to support the launch of the Visa Everywhere Pioneer20 in partnership with WeAreTheCity.  This is the first list of its kind to recognise female refugees and their incredible contributions to their communities. We are excited to partner with both organisations and look forward to the nominations opening on the 3rd of July

Zahid Torres-Rahman, Co-Founder & CEO at Business Fights Poverty


Individuals are invited to nominate themselves or nominate other individuals from 03 July.


  • Open to all women of all ages
  • The individual must identify currently as a refugee or at some point identified as a refugee
  • Any charity, NGO or Foundation operating in Europe can nominate an individual
  • Any public sector or private sector entity that have an active program supporting refugees can nominate an individual
  • The individual must reside in Europe


  • Nominations open 03 July
  • Nominations close 11 August
  • Judging day 18 August
  • Winners announced 06 September
  • Winners event September  – TBC

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