The Global Refugee Crisis

In January 2017, the Legacy community convened in the home of Legacy Member Joan Platt for a conversation with Sasha Chanoff, Executive Director of RefugePoint. We were fortunate to also be joined by Legacy Member Kien Pham who shared his family’s story of coming to the U.S. as a boat refugee from Vietnam. We considered the global systems that must converge if we are to transform the global refugee crisis into a global refugee strategy.

 

Sasha led an inspiring conversation and we were especially struck by a few key points:

  • Sasha defined three areas to explore in considering this crisis: 1) Humanitarian response, 2) Support for host countries, and 3) Public Perception.
  • With persistent global conflict, it is time to shift from emergency aid and instead consider sustained and strategic responses to this ongoing global crisis.
  • Rather than supporting siloed efforts that address single issues—i.e. food, health aid, education—we instead need to deploy holistic, systemic approaches to tackling this problem.
  • Climate change may also play a significant role in the global refugee crisis. Some researchers believe that part of the Northern African and Middle Eastern dislocation is partially related to drought conditions.
  • One way that individuals and communities can support refugees is by creating opportunities for them to share who they are, thereby mitigating public fear of the unknown. As an example of this, Sasha cited Tufts University’s “Day of Celebration,” when refugees have an opportunity to share their native food and traditions with the community.
  • As a means of changing public perception, it is important that the media highlight refugees’ positive contributions to society in their host countries. Kien reminded us all that uplifting success stories are important for generating optimistic action around this issue. Here’s one we thought you might enjoy (click here).

Many resources were mentioned throughout the evening. Here are a few we think might be useful:

If you would like to connect with Sasha, he can be reached at sasha@refugepoint.org or 857-523-0465. You can also follow RefugePoint on facebook here.