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Successful Refugees and Immigrants Leading the Way, Part 2: Supermodel Alek Wek

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Today, we will introduce another outstanding refugee, Alek Wek, who left Sudan as a teenager and is now regarded as one of the world’s foremost supermodels. Compassionate in nature, she is also a humanitarian activist. Alek was born in what is now South Sudan on April 16, 1977, and is the seventh of nine children. To avoid the civil conflict, Ms. Wek and her younger sister were forced to flee to London, UK, in 1991. In 1995, four years after moving to England, Ms. Wek was discovered at an outdoor market in the London suburb of Crystal Palace by a scout for the famous agency, Models 1. Ms. Wek was also named “Model of the Year” by MTV in 1997. In addition to Elle magazine, Ms. Wek also appeared on the cover of many other notable publications, such as Glamour, Cosmopolitan, i-D, Forbes Magazine Africa, and Ebony. Ms. Wek’s influence goes far beyond the fashion arena. The supermodel is also a humanitarian activist and a prominent philanthropist. She has been a missionary for World Vision’s program to end HIV/AIDS, an ambassador for “Doctors Without Borders” and the U.S. Committee for Refugees Advisory Council’s advisory board member on issues related to Sudan. On June 17, 2013, she was appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador by the UNHCR. She said: “I believe that true beauty comes from inside you and that always shows through.” As a former refugee, Alek Wek has proven to us that regardless of adversity, anything is possible. She has also demonstrated that refugees can make great contributions to the countries they emigrate to and leave a lasting, positive mark on our world.
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