Refugee Day: UNHCR has chosen an Ivorian designer to illustrate it on the networks

O'Plérou Grébet is the inventor of the emoji chosen by the High Commission for Refugees to illustrate International Refugee Day 2020. @ UNHCR / Roberto Valussi

Text by: RFI Follow

This Saturday, June 20, is the 20th celebration of World Refugee Day, representing 26 million people worldwide. A somewhat special edition due to the health crisis caused by the Covid-19. The UNHCR, High Commission for Refugees created for the occasion an emoji, these small stylized drawings that we use in messaging and on social networks. A special Refugee Day emoji. And its creator, who has become the African master of the genre, is a 22-year-old Ivorian, O'Plérou Grébet.


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with our correspondent in Abidjan, Pierre Pinto

Covid-19 forces, World Refugee Day celebrations will take place on the internet this year. Hence the idea for this emoji that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the UNHCR, commissioned from the young Ivorian designer O'Plérou Grébet.

The theme that was given to me is" solidarity, diversity and acceptance  " . Suddenly, it is from these three values ​​that I thought of using two hands of different colors, which form a heart to represent the three values ​​at the same time  .

#WorldRefugeeDay 👈 This isn't just any emoji.

Designed by @OPlerou, it's a symbol of solidarity and diversity, and hope for a more inclusive and equitable world.

  UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency (@Refugees) June 15, 2020

Two heart-shaped hands that join a series of nearly 400 emojis created over the past two years by O'Plérou to better represent West Africa on social networks. "Zouzoukwa" as he baptized them.

That was a project I started on Instagram, too, which involved creating an emoji every day in 2018, representing traditional and modern African cultures . And at the end of the  project, I published an application so that people can use the emojis that I created on WhatsApp and the messages. I wanted to show what I see and what other people see too  . ”

This project made him famous. CNN's international press in Forbes is interested in this discreet young artist. A success such as the "zouzoukwas" will have a continuation to represent the whole of Africa and not only West Africa. O'Plérou has no shortage of projects and has started learning 3D techniques.

UNHCR and Twitter are launching the #RefugeeDay 2020 emoji created by Ivorian artist @ OPlerou # With refugees 2 hands tied together in a heart shape, a symbol of # solidarity & # diversity

  UNHCR France (@UNHCRfrance) June 15, 2020

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  • Refugees
  • Ivory Coast
  • Internet
  • Social media