This week, during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukaya is calling for leaders of the technology sector to lend their support to the refugee crisis, asking for companies to provide food, shelter, and jobs to those in need.
Ulukaya is himself a Kurdish Muslim who immigrated from Turkey, and through Chobani, Ulukaya has hired hundreds of refugees in the last five years. Ulukaya has pledged half of his personal wealth to the refugees’ humanitarian crisis, and has recently launched Tent, a personal foundation that seeks to connect refugees with the resources of the private sector.
In an op-ed for CNN, Ulukaya also pointed to the tremendous contributions to global society made by other former refugees — Google’s Sergey Brin, Intel’s Andy Grove, and WhatsApp’s Jan Koum. “Some of the world's most innovative and successful businesses simply wouldn't exist if they had been turned away in their time of need,” said Ulukaya.
So far, six companies — Airbnb, LinkedIn, MasterCard, Ikea, UPS, and Western Union — have already joined Ulukaya’s Tent Pledge, which calls on companies to provide refugees with resources like job training and employment opportunities, as well as “the kind of direct assistance that experts have identified as a priority — everything from blankets and water, to debit cards and Internet access.” At the world forum, Ulukaya will call on other world leaders to use their money and influence to do some major good on behalf of the millions of refugees.
Airbnb, for instance, is offering travel credits to relief workers, and LinkedIn will debut a pilot program in Sweden that matches refugees’ skills with available jobs. Other companies are providing necessities like computers, online education tools, and basic toiletries.
“If we're going to give hope and opportunity to the more than 60 million refugees around the world, it must come from more than just governments and NGOs,” Ulukaya said. “Businesses and innovators have a critical role to play, and I'm so proud that some of the largest organizations in the world have joined us on our mission to rethink how we're addressing this crisis.”