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Gucci to Intel Join UN Online Bid to Aid Syrian Refugees

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Aug. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Companies from Gucci Group NV to Intel Corp. are using social-media networks to help the United Nations raise money to aid about 2 million Syrian refugees, as the international body seeks a political solution to the more than two-year-old civil war.

The corporate participants also include Western Union Co. and Barclays Plc, which has pledged an initial contribution of $100,000 to help fill multimillion-dollar gaps in contributions for humanitarian missions stemming from the Syrian conflict as well as Afghanistan, Yemen and elsewhere, UN spokesman Matthew Cochrane said.

As of July 22, the UN refugee agency was $1.9 billion short of meeting its appeal for $2.9 billion of contributions this year, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees’ website.

The UN decided to try to take “online communication and turn it into something more meaningful,” Cochrane said. The campaign, called “The World Needs More - - -,” is “also a way for corporate partners to get visibility with consumers.”

Participating sponsors have chosen words representing what they think the world needs more of, and will donate $1 each time their words are shared on social-media services such as Twitter Inc. or Facebook Inc., in text messages or on the campaign’s website.

Gucci says the world needs more zeal, education and strength, while Western Union calls for more inclusion.

The UN hopes other companies will join and that existing corporate sponsors will increase their contributions as the 37-day campaign builds, Cochrane said.

More than 1.9 million Syrians have fled the two-year civil war between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and a loose coalition of about 1,200 rebel factions, according to the UN.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sangwon Yoon in United Nations at syoon32@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Walcott at jwalcott9@bloomberg.net

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