IRC Commemorates World Refugee Day 2004
The IRC is marking World Refugee Day 2004 by honoring the courage and determination of the refugees and war-affected communities we assist.
IRC programs around the globe are hosting and participating in a variety of educational and commemorative activities in the week before and after World Refugee Day, June 20. Events will take place in refugee camps, cultural centers, universities and resettlement communities on four continents.
- In Ethiopia, the IRC is organizing games, performances, exhibitions and sports and poetry competitions in the Shimelba, Yarenja and Sherkole refugee camps. Workshops on HIV/AIDS, sexual and gender-based violence, repatriation and peace education are also being offered.
- Kenya will observe World Refugee Day with a series of inter-agency activities focusing on the repatriation prospects of Sudanese and Somali refugees. The IRC helped plan the weeklong event, which includes a public debate on the issue of repatriation that will involve the refugee community, students and community leaders. Numerous media events, art exhibitions and fundraising activities are also scheduled.
- In Thailand, the IRC's Intergenerational Arts Project will put on cultural performances and organize competitions involving traditional songs, dances and storytelling in the Karenni refugee camps in Mae Hong Son province on June 19. And on the outskirts of Bangkok , IRC staffers will distribute health pamphlets at a celebration organized by a local Karen refugee association.
- The IRC in Pakistan participated in a June 18 seminar on refugees at the University of Peshawar where Aleena Khan, IRC protection manager, gave a presentation on repatriation. The IRC also had an informational booth at an exhibition on refugees at the university, where attendees viewed a multimedia presentation on the IRC's programs and a display of handicrafts and art from the vocational education program.
- In London, 300 people turned out to hear acclaimed authors Monica Ali, Hari Kunzru and Dave Eggers at a June 17 reading and discussion that explored the themes of conflict, refuge and identity. The event was hosted by and benefited IRC-UK. Eggers, who traveled from San Francisco for the event, read from a moving account of a return trip to Sudan with a resettled “Lost Boy.”
- Penguin Books UK is publishing two books on the refugee experience this month to mark World Refugee Day and Refugee Week in the United Kingdom . Proceeds from both books with benefit the IRC. Refugee children assisted by the IRC talk about their lives in “Making It Home,” an inspiring collection of stories by young refugees from all over the world compiled by Beverley Naidoo. The book was released by Puffin, the children's division of Penguin Books. Also coming out this month is “A Life Removed,” by Rose George, which looks at displacement in West Africa and Ivory Coast . George's visit to West Africa was facilitated by IRC-UK. Click here for more details about the books.
- Channel 4 Television in the UK featured “Escaping Home,” four short films challenging the idea that refugees do not contribute to British society beyond low-status jobs. The films aired from June 14-17, and featured refugees from Uganda, Iraqi, Bosnia and Afghanistan now living in the UK .
- In Seattle, the IRC has organized a soccer tournament for the resettled refugee community on June 20, in collaboration with other local resettlement agencies. In addition to an awards ceremony for the winners, ethnic food, games, soccer clinics and information booths will be featured
- The IRC's Phoenix resettlement office sponsored a weeklong series of workshops and panel discussions to educate the public about refugees, along with a community reception.
- The IRC's New York City resettlement office is a sponsor of aWorld Refugee Day event at the Bronfman Center at New York University on June 21. Recently resettled refugees from Burma will speak about their experiences as part of a panel discussion, and photographs of refugees resettled in New York will be exhibited. For ticket information, contact Danya Pastuszek at danyap@theIRC.org .
- The Los Angeles Film Festival, in conjunction with Really Good Films and IRC Los Angeles, will mount a benefit for World Refugee Day on June 19. Hundreds of filmmakers, IRC supporters and members of the refugee community will gather to eat, dance and commemorate the day.
- In Dallas, the IRC will participate in “World Refugee Day 2004: A Picnic in the Park,” a large inter-agency event with a crafts bazaar, information booths and food and entertainment from around the world.
- A celebration will be held by the IRC's Tucson's office on June 20, with refugees performing traditional music, songs and dances for the community.
- The IRC's Charlottesville, Virginia office organized a window display at a local bank that highlights refugees and the IRC's work.