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MAY 20, 2022

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"Nassim Ashford, M.P.H. ’23, was already heavily involved with social justice issues when he applied to the Yale School of Public Health and became an M.P.H. student in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Ukraine was on few people’s radars in America when Ashford entered his first year at Yale last September. And it didn’t take much for him to apply his passion for tackling racism and inequality to what he saw happening in Ukraine after the Russian invasion in February.

Ashford had co-founded the humanitarian organization NoirUnited International in 2020 as a response to the George Floyd protests and the global movement for racial justice and equality. When he learned that Black students from several countries were being harassed at the border while trying to flee Ukraine to neighboring countries, he and NoirUnited co-founder Macire Aribot, a first-year master’s degree student studying international affairs at Columbia University, put their organizational experience and learning to use."

APRIL 28, 2022

As she watched reports out of Ukraine early in Russia’s invasion, graduate student Macire Aribot was struck by two unmistakable elements in the near-blanket television news coverage in the United States...her organization, NoirUnited International, raised more than $100,000 and was able to assist scores of stranded Africans in leaving Ukraine and finding temporary lodging—and, in some cases, university transfers to other European countries and beyond.

“There were millions of dollars going toward humanitarian relief in Ukraine, but Black and Brown people were not getting access to almost any of it,” the first-year graduate student at Columbia University, who traveled to five European countries during spring break to personally deliver assistance to some of the stranded African students her organization helped, told Foreign Policy.

April 28, 2022

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As the Russian invasion of Ukraine has displaced millions, Columbia SIPA student Macire Aribot has traveled to Europe to provide humanitarian support and assist the evacuation of Black refugees with NoirUnited International, an NGO she co-founded.  

A first-year Master of International Affairs candidate studying economic and political development, Macire co-founded NoirUnited in the summer of 2020 to address the global marginalization of the Black diaspora. Earlier this year, as evidence of the disproportionate mistreatment of Black refugees made its way through social media, NoirUnited collaborated with several organizations and individual volunteers from around the world to support refugees in need.  

Initially, NoirUnited raised funds as part of a collective effort to finance the evacuation of Black refugees. To date, they have helped raise over $100,000. As the conflict continued, NoirUnited sought opportunities to broaden its outreach and provide more direct support to people displaced by the war. In early March, Aribot made contact through Telegram with a group of African college students hoping to flee Kherson, Ukraine. NoirUnited immediately began taking steps to help coordinate their exit.

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Thanks to SIPA student Macire Aribot MIA ’23 for sharing the following account of her recent humanitarian work in Ukraine....For the past month and a half, I have been working through my international NGO, NoirUnited International, to provide humanitarian assistance to Black refugee students who've faced discrimination while fleeing the war in Ukraine. We helped raise over $125,000 and coordinated the evacuation of 41 students from Kherson, Ukraine, an area that had been under Russian control early in the invasion. We also provided transportation to and from the Ukrainian border, housing, and other essential resources. In addition, we worked with government officials from African countries to advocate for a humanitarian corridor in Kherson and for students to continue their education abroad.

June 7, 2022

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"For many Black Americans, it can be easy to get lost in our daily struggles. Even though progress has been made, the fight for equality in this nation is far from over. 

However, what many Black Americans aren’t privy to is the trials and tribulations faced by fellow Black people overseas. The numerous social media videos of Black people in Ukraine being mistreated as the European country entered one of the most pivotal standoffs in its history brought the struggle of Black people across the world to the forefront." 


Two Mercer University alumni are traveling across Europe to help African college students who were studying in Ukraine evacuate the country as it defends itself against Russian attacks.

Nassim Ashford and Macire Aribot, who both earned undergraduate degrees from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 2019, are principal founders of Atlanta-based NoirUnited International, a nongovernmental organization focused on putting Black and other marginalized people at the center of creating development solutions for their countries.

Over the last few weeks, NoirUnited International has joined forces with a coalition of Black-led organizations. So far, they’ve helped raise more than $125,000 to provide humanitarian aid and essential resources to African refugees. They’ve also secured housing for dozens of displaced college students and advocated for them at embassies.

FOX 5: DeKalb grads help African students escape Ukraine amid war with Russia

March 25, 2022

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - DeKalb County natives say they want to be on the ground helping those flee the war in Ukraine.

They say their focus is on those of African Descent who have been treated unfairly.

Two grad students, one attending Yale and the other Columbia, say many people of color left homes in Africa to go to school in Ukraine because it’s affordable.

"If I was a student in another country I would want people to come and help me and assist me," Nassim Ashford said.

March 31, 2022


"ATLANTA — The Russia-Ukraine war continues and more than four million Ukrainians have fled the country. One Atlanta-based non-profit, NoirUnited International, is working towards making sure Black refugees receive humanitarian aid and the resources needed to leave the country.

NoriUnited International was launched in 2020, after the George Floyd protest and Black Lives Matter movement, by five friends. They decided to come together to support the Black community and are now using their organization to support in Europe. "

April 6, 2022


"NoirUnited International, an organization founded by Yale School of Public Health student Nassim Ashford SPH ’23, joined forces with the Global Black Coalition to raise $125,000 and advocate for humanitarian corridors for minority students in Ukraine.

Among the hundreds of thousands of people fleeing Ukraine, some Black students claimed to face discrimination when trying to cross the borders into neighboring countries. Ashford joined forces with the co-founder of NoirUnited International Macire Aribot, a first-year master’s student at Columbia University studying international affairs,"

Rolling Out:
AM Wake-Up Call Interview

September 8, 2020

Timestamp 30:30 - 45:05

August 12, 2020


"Today we’d like to introduce you to Macire Aribot, Nassim Ashford and Fatoumata Fofana.

Our journey began as friends in high school, where we attended Arabia Mountain High School in Lithonia, GA. Through the years, our friendship has been based on the yearning need to uplift our community and improve the lives of our community members. "

June 16, 2020


"...Today, local Black-owned businesses are attempting to recoup from COVID-19 and recent protests. Georgia State senior Fatoumata Fofana and Mercer alumni Macire Aribot and Nassim Ashford banded together to create a GoFundMe for Atlanta’s Black-owned businesses, reaching halfway to their goal of $10,000 in just a week...."

June 23, 2020


"...Panthers Den has received support from a local student-run non-profit organization, NoirUnited, to help them get back on their feet. Started by Georgia State senior Fatoumata Fofana and Mercer alumni Macire Aribot and Nassim Ashford, NoirUnited aims to provide funding for Black-owned businesses that have been affected by COVID-19 and damaged from the protests..."

June 15, 2020


"...Through their new nonprofit, NoirUnited International, Macire Aribot, Nassim Ashford, and Fatoumata Fofana launched a GoFundMe campaign to help five small black owned businesses in metro Atlanta. They set a goal of $10,000 and as of Monday morning, were already more than halfway there with $5,600...."

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