Saturday, June 20 is World Refugee Day

In 2000, the United Nations established June 20 annually as World Refugee Day. It’s a day to honor all refugees, recognize their sacrifices and the hardships they endure. For MC it’s a time to honor students, colleagues, neighbors—and reflect on our national heritage as a magnet for excellence, enterprise and shelter from threat and harm.

The United Nations web site states that “a refugee is someone who fled his or her home and country owing to ‘a well-founded fear of persecution because of his/her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion’, according to the United Nations 1951 Refugee Convention.”  Refugees have run from their homelands for different reasons, but a common theme unites them:  They left because they had no other choice.  

There are an estimated 25.9 million refugees in the world today, and over half of them are children.  (In addition there are 3.5 million asylum seeks and 41.5 million internally displaced persons for a total of 70.8 million forcibly displaced persons).  Many live in squalid conditions in refugee camps, sometimes for years.  Tragically, many die on the journey, never making it to safety. 

Please watch the three short videos below, which are particularly powerful watched in sequence.  And on Saturday, June 20, 2020, please take a moment to remember the plight of the world’s refugees.  If you are moved to do more, please visit these web sites to see how you can help.  

Videos

·        52% of Refugees Are Children (from CNN – this video begins with a short advertisement)

https://www.cnn.com/videos/world/2018/06/19/world-refugee-day-lon-orig-bks.cnn

·        Refugees:  The Shared Story of Harry and Ahmed (from UNICEF)

·        Who Will Remember? – A Story About the Refugees in Greece (from World Race Films)

Refugee Web Sites

·        UN High Commissioner on Refugees

https://www.unhcr.org/en-us/get-involved.html

·        International Rescue Committee

https://www.rescue.org/article/how-help-refugees-united-states-12-ways-stand-welcome

·        Oxfam America

https://www.oxfamamerica.org/explore/stories/7-ways-you-can-help-refugees-right-now/

Published by David J. Smith

I am a career coach, consultant, and head of a not for profit - the Forage Center - that offers humanitarian education training. I also teach at George Mason University and Drexel University. A one time lawyer, I spent many years teaching in a community college where I was a Fulbright U.S. Scholar teaching in Estonia. I'm the author of Peace Jobs: A Student's Guide to Starting a Career Working for Peace (IAP 2016). I've been married to my best friend for over 31 years and we have two well adjusted adult children who teach me something new everyday. I live in Rockville, Maryland.

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