Tent Founder, Hamdi Ulukaya discusses refugee crisis with Senator Chris Coons and Angelina Jolie at McCain Institute’s Sedona Forum
On Wednesday, April 28, Tent Founder and Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukaya joined award-winning actress, director, producer and UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie for a panel conversation moderated by Senator Chris Coons (Democrat, Delaware) at the McCain Institute’s 2021 Sedona Forum. The conversation entitled “Stepping up for the global refugee crisis” looked at the ongoing refugee crisis and examined Ulukaya’s and Jolie’s personal connections to the issue.
Jolie opened the conversation reflecting on the 20 years she’s spent working with UNHCR – travelling around the world, meeting refugees, and visiting refugee-hosting nations like Pakistan. Jolie noted that the refugee crisis continues to grow – with the number of refugees worldwide more than doubling over the last decade – and remains woefully underfunded.
During the conversation Ulukaya focused on how businesses can help address the refugee crisis, reflecting on his own experience hiring refugees at Chobani’s factories in Upstate New York. He pointed out that, by making a few simple accommodations including providing language courses, transportation, and training opportunities, refugees were able to integrate into their communities and have become some of Chobani’s most loyal and dedicated employees.
Jolie and Ulukaya reiterated the need – and opportunity – for businesses and individuals to better support refugees. When asked for a closing call to action, Ulukaya said, “Hire refugees. You will never regret it. The minute you get involved – the rewards you get, what it brings to your business, is something you cannot put a price tag on.”
Echoing the sentiment, Jolie closed by saying, “(Refugees) deserve us to invest in them, work with them, and truly want to see them thrive.”