6 Ways World Refugee Day Is Being Recognized Around the Globe | NECN
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6 Ways World Refugee Day Is Being Recognized Around the Globe

The UN reported a record-high 65.6 million forcibly displaced people in 2016

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    6 Ways World Refugee Day Is Being Recognized Around the Globe
    James Brooks/AP Images
    People view the new artwork by Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, entitled 'Soleil Levant,' at Kunsthal Charlottenborg museum in Copenhagen, Denmark, Tuesday June 20, 2017. Weiwei has barricaded the windows of the museum for his provocative new artwork as a striking reminder of the ongoing migrant crisis, inaugurated Tuesday on World Refugee Day.

    World Refugee Day is Tuesday, making it a good opportunity to consider the millions of people who are forcibly displaced from their homes around the world.

    Aside from plans for rallies on Trump Tower and the United Nations headquarters in New York City, people around the world are marking the day with cultural celebrations, corporate fundraisers or political demonstrations of their own.

    Here are some of the ways organizations are recognizing the hardships and hopes of refugees:

    Reporting record-high refugee totals, UN officials visit camps in Ethiopia

    In advance of World Refugee Day, the United Nations High Commission on Refugees released its latest study on forced migration, which reports 65.6 million forcibly displaced people around the world in 2016 — the highest total ever recorded.

    Filippo Grandi, who leads the organization, is spending the day in Nguenyyiel refugee camp, one of several sites in western Ethiopia that hosts more than 300,000 refugees fleeing violence and hunger in South Sudan.

    Grandi visited a nearby marketplace and school and joined diplomats and humanitarian workers at a ceremony.

    “I am here in Ethiopia on World Refugee Day to tell the world that it is possible to receive many refugees, to treat them well, to remain stable, and to look to the future,” Grandi said. “Stay hopeful, stay strong, because we stand with refugees."

    The UNHCR report says that the refugee crisis in South Sudan is one of the world’s fastest-growing, jumping from 854,100 to over 1.4 million in the second half of last year.

    Starbucks, NGOs team up to provide work for 2,500 refugees in Europe

    Starbucks will work together with aid agencies to hire 2,500 refugees in its European stores by 2022, the company announced.

    Collaborating with refugee resettlement organizations, such as the Refugee Council, in eight countries mostly in Western Europe, the coffee chain will seek to reach its global goal of hiring 10,000 refugees within the next five years.

    This plan, which was announced in January following the announcement of President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban, drew backlash in the United States from boycotters who said the chain should have hired military veterans instead.

    “Refugees bring an incredible wealth of skills, knowledge and experience which are hugely beneficial to society,” Mark Wren, president of the Refugee Council, said in a statement. “It’s so important that they are given the opportunity to apply their talents to employment here in the U.K.”

    Food festival celebrates refugee chefs, cuisine in 13 cities

    More than a dozen cities in Europe are hosting editions of the Refugee Food Festival this month as a way to highlight refugee chefs and help integrate their culture into the city.

    The festival, which launched last year in France, matches restaurants in each city with displaced chefs who create a one- or two-night pop-up menu highlighting their national or regional cuisine.

    "We're here today to say that in cooking, in the kitchen, there are no differences. We're all the same, we're all human," Barshank Haj Younes, a Syrian chef based in Athens, told Reuters.

    Last year’s festival featured chefs from places as diverse as Ivory Coast, Syria, and Tibet, including one chef who hosted a popular cooking show in Syria.

    YouTubers highlight individual refugees’ stories

    The International Rescue Committee sent well-known vloggers to film interviews and video collaborations with refugees across the world.

    The campaign, titled #MoreThanARefugee, partnered each of seven YouTube channels with one or more refugees whose stories tie into the goal of the account.

    For instance, gay vlogger Tyler Oakley met with Shadi and Sharifa, two LGBTQ refugees who came to the U.S. from Syria and Uganda, respectively, to flee persecution and homophobia at home. A tech channel called AsapSCIENCE, meanwhile, went to an IRC camp in Syria to explore how refugee camps are built and build kites with the people living there.

    #MoreThanARefugee is part of YouTube’s “Creators for Change” initiative, which seeks to amplify voices that use the website to tackle “difficult social issues.”

    One highlight in the series is a video by Haifa Beseisso, who runs a travel series from the United Arab Emirates called “Fly with Haifa,” as she meets a 13-year-old Syrian refugee and aspiring rapper named Maryam who fled from Iraq to Serbia by foot.

    Ai Weiwei unveils installation at Danish museum

    Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei's latest work, "Soleil Levant," barricades the windows at a contemporary art museum with over 3,500 life jackets salvaged from refugees arriving on the Greek island of Lesbos.

    The work, which opened Tuesday at the Kunsthal Charlottenborg contemporary art space in Copenhagen, looks to draw attention to the refugee crisis in Europe. 

    UNHCR reported that more than 1.3 million refugees have arrived in Europe by making the treacherous journey across the Mediterranean, with more than 8,000 people dying or disappearing in their attempts to travel by sea.

    Facebook, Save the Children launch ad campaign

    Facebook collaborated with Save the Children for an ad campaign to depict the drastic transformations that children in Syria have had to face as a result of the civil war ravaging the country.

    Different 12-second spots show photos of happy, young Syrians dissolving into depictions of refugee life aboard boats or in front of war-torn territory.

    Titled “It’s Not the Same This Year,” the campaign will run through Eid al-Fitr, a celebration at the end of Ramadan when Muslims perform acts of charity for the less fortunate.

    Portuguese soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo also took part in promoting the day, introducing a Save the Children video that highlights the story of a Syrian refugee named Zainab.