More than $90,000 was raised from attendants of the World Refugee Day breakfast last week, an event which drew a number of participants from the domestic investment industry.

The breakfast, which was run last Friday by Australia for UNHCR, a fundraising instrument for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), raised more than $90,000 for relief efforts in the areas of Myanmar devastated by Cyclone Nargis. Speaking at the breakfast, Naomi Steer, the national director of Australia for UNHCR, said that the number of refugees and displaced people worldwide had recently risen by four million to 25 million people. The event featured a keynote speech from Maxine McKew, the federal member for Bennelong and former ABC journalist, and Mark Schwarzer, Socceroos goalkeeper and an Australia for UNHCR representative. Neil Cochrane, the acting chief executive of Colonial First State Global Asset Management, who sponsored the breakfast, said the UNHCR’s vital work also benefited the investment industry since it “contributed to the sustainability of many of the world’s economies”. Meanwhile, the 2008 ‘Power of 10’ initiative between PricewaterhouseCoopers and the UNHCR was publicised, which encourages PwC staff across the globe to make donations in the 10 working days between 16 and 27 June to support educational programs for 20,000 refugee children in eastern Chad. To date, approximate $2.4 million has been raised. The UNHCR receives 3 per cent of its funding from the United Nations: the vast remainder is supplied by the private sector and government. Of all the private-sector donors to the refugee agency, Australia for UNHCR supplies the fifth-largest amount of funding, according to Steer.

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