On Tuesday, August 8, the Salt Lake City office had the opportunity to welcome the International Rescue Committee’s President & CEO, David Miliband, to Salt Lake City.
As the Deseret News reported, David’s visit primarily engaged leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints; however, in between those meetings he had the opportunity to speak with IRC staff.
Patrick Poulin, executive director in Salt Lake City, acted as David’s chauffeur and guide to the Salt Lake City refugee community. Patrick expressed, “Within our first minutes, the paradigm shifted, the impact of this talented and passionate leader had already permeated the space, and it suggested to me a sense of the incredible weight of responsibility he voluntarily bears.”
GSBS Architects—neighbors to the IRC in Salt Lake City—generously offered their large conference room for the meeting. Over 50 IRC staff members gathered eagerly around the large conference table, sitting along the walls and standing where no seating was available. David arrived shortly thereafter with Patrick, and staff burst into spontaneous applause as David entered, an unabashed expression of appreciation.
David chose to stand in the middle of the group, first picking out staff to learn more about their current work or recent client interactions. Then, David took time to envisage the important role the IRC is taking as we become the thought leaders in the humanitarian sector and the gravity of designing human-centered programming.
He posed a question during the discussion, “How do we convince people who are unconvinced by the facts, who stand against refugee resettlement?” He offered a counter question to help structure the conversation, “What would you want if you were in the situation millions of refugees find themselves in?” David was the first to say he didn’t know how to convince everyone, but he told us it is important to keep the conversation moving forward.
Following the discussion, David conveyed his appreciation of the dedication and hard work completed at the local offices to serve refugees in the community.
You can hear David Miliband speak about tangible ways to help refugees and turn empathy and altruism into action by listening to his Ted Talk.