Founder of Tent Hamdi Ulukaya and President of Colombia urge business community to take action on refugee integration at IADB convening

Hamdi Ulukaya, CEO of Chobani and founder of the Tent Partnership for Refugees, alongside the President of Colombia, Ivan Duque, and other high-profile officials and business leaders, spoke at a virtual side-event of the Inter-American Development Bank’s Annual Meeting, focusing on private sector support of refugees and migrants in the region.

The virtual gathering, hosted by the Inter-American Development Bank, the Colombian Government, and the Canadian Ministry of Global Affairs, focused on the roles of government and the business community in promoting the integration of refugees and migrants.

Speeches by Ulukaya, Duque, IABD President Mauricio Claver-Carone, and industry leaders in countries including Colombia and Chile highlighted the importance of policies that enable companies to hire refugees and migrants legally and effectively.

With the Colombian Government’s recent decision to provide legal status to about 1.7 million Venezuelans living in Colombia, it’s critical for  companies to make the most of  the talent, entrepreneurialism, and work ethic of this group — and, during the event, President Duque urged the business community to act on this opportunity.

“With this regularization, we are taking a humanitarian leap. We realize we are not a rich country, but we are recognizing the needs of Venezuelans. We will pave the road for regularization and promote their economic integration,” President Duque said.

Ulukaya cited his own positive experience of hiring refugees at Chobani: “Anyone that has the right to work should have the opportunity to work. Even after refugees go through this troubled journey to arrive in a host country, the issue doesn’t stop until they have access to work.”

“When rules and regulations allow for companies to participate, more and more CEOs and brands are willing to participate,” Ulukaya continued.

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