It’s LSE 2017 Refugee Week from 6-9 February. Run by LSE SU STAR and UN Societies, with funding from the LSE Annual Fund, the aim of the week is to ‘explore the ‘untold stories’ of Refugees and provide an innovative perspective, one that goes beyond global media’s coverage of these catastrophes.’
Make sure to check out their various events on Facebook and drop by the photography exhibition on the first floor of Saw Swee Hock Centre. Tickets to the events cost £2 with all the money going to charity.
Inspired to do something yourself? Why not give your time by volunteering with or for refugees and/or migrants? We’ve selected some amazing different opportunities for you!
- Cara Student Ambassador, Council for Assisting Refugee Academics
- Telephone Befriender or Regional Group Outreach Volunteer, The Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR)
- Volunteer Mentoring with young refugees and migrants, Salusbury WORLD Refugee Centre
- Advocacy and Support Volunteer or Volunteer Visitor, Detention Action (DA)
- Fundraising Trustee, Refugee Action Kingston (RAK)
Below Isabella Leyh, who is helping organise the events, explains about the week and why it’s so important:
Over the past two years pictures of refugees arriving at European shores, being held at borders or trapped in camps have become an all too familiar sight. We have witnessed time and time again the deadly consequences of people aiming to cross the Mediterranean Sea in unsafe lifeboats in search for safety. UNHCR has termed it the ‘biggest refugee and displacement crisis of our time.’ Amidst the rise of populist political parties all over Europe and an increasing anti-immigration discourse, we are showered with statistics by the media quoting agencies such as UNHCR and Frontex: In 2015, EU member states received 1,255,640 first time asylum applications, the fourth quarter of 2015 alone witnessed 978, 338 irregular entries over sea and land into the EU. A statistic, a number and not a face or a story is what most refugees fleeing civil wars and impoverishment in their countries of origin are portrayed as.
In order to change that, the LSE Student Action for Refugees and United Nations Societies, in cooperation with the Middle East Centre, are inviting you to the LSE Refugee Week, held from in venues across the LSE campus. Together with refugees, national and international experts and NGOs we want to explore the untold stories of refugees, going beyond global media coverage. One of the organisers explains that ‘The Refugee Week will allow the LSE community to get together and tackle today’s widely discussed questions on the refugee humanitarian crisis. For the first time, it will give a much-needed platform to students, academics, actors to focus on refugees and the humanitarian, political, economic and legal opportunities and challenges that they bring.’
What does it mean to be a refugee? What impact does gender have on the experience of being stateless? How can we get involved? How are non-European countries dealing with refugees fleeing conflict in neighbouring countries? And what do we think of the UK’s response? Five conferences with insightful, diverse and thought-provoking speakers will be exploring these issues throughout the week. Due to the generous support by the LSE Annual Fund, the organisers are confident that the speakers’ stories will be ‘a true reflection of their experiences, not informed in any way by a sponsor’s narrative.’ Moreover, you will have the chance to take part in a workshop with Doctors of the World, enjoy a performance of asylum monologues by professional actors of the charity Ice & Fire and immerse yourself in a photo exhibition on the first floor of the Saw Swee Hock Centre.
This is an opportunity to counter stereotypes through listening and discussing the issues that have been at the forefront of European politics for the past two years. Tickets are only £2 and all proceeds are going to refugee-related charities. We are looking forward to seeing you there! Together we can create a new narrative on what it means to be a refugee – let’s believe in stories over statistics.