Melissa Fleming is Head of Communications and Chief Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), working to draw attention, drive empathy and generate support for the world’s 68 million refugees and displaced people. She uses strategic communications to reach target audiences that include media, public, governments and refugees themselves. She leads global media outreach and campaigns, and operates a multi-media news and feature service.
She believes in the power of public speaking to move audiences. Her TED talks have been viewed by over 3 million people around the world. She is the author of the book, A Hope More Powerful than the Sea about an extraordinary young Syrian woman who, with the baby she saved, was one of the only survivors of a boat wreck that killed 500 refugees, including her fiancé. She is also host of the UNHCR podcast, Awake At Night.
Prior to the UNHCR she served eight years as Spokesperson and Head of Press & Public Information at the International Atomic Energy Agency during the period the organization made headlines for its inspection work in Iraq, Iran and North Korea and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. Before joining the IAEA, she headed the Press & Information team at the Organization for Security & Cooperation in Europe. She started her career at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. She holds a B.A. from Oberlin College and a M.A. in journalism from Boston University.