Refugee summit seeks online participants

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International Social Justice Commission plans two-day event for late January  

Displaced people, and the response of individuals, the Church and society to the worldwide refugee crisis, is the focus of a two-day online summit organized by The Salvation Army’s New York-based International Social Justice Commission (ISJC).

The Global Interactive Summit on Refugees and Displaced People, taking place January 29–30, 2018, will consider a range of issues, including the latest data and trends affecting migration around the world. Panelists will discuss the most pertinent topics associated with this crisis, and how The Salvation Army and partner agencies are deploying to meet complex physical, emotional and spiritual needs. Notably, this is not just for academics or experts—anybody with an interest in the subject is invited to take part.

The event is timely. The World Migration Report 2018—published last week by United Nations (UN) agency the International Organization for Migration (IOM)—discloses an estimated 244 million international migrants globally (or 3.3 percent of the world’s population).

“While the vast majority of people in the world continue to live in the country in which they were born, more people are migrating to other countries, especially those within their region,” the report states. “Global displacement is at a record high, with the number of internally displaced at over 40 million and the number of refugees more than 22 million.”

A majority of displaced people are under 18 and, sadly, many find that—having made exhausting and often traumatic journeys—they are faced with further rejection from the communities they try to settle in.

The Salvation Army—with other churches and faith-based organizations—is playing a key role in responding to the global crisis and engaging with the people affected around the world. The web-based summit will allow people around the world to participate while also featuring contributions from practitioners, support workers and theologians—celebrating what has been achieved and reflecting on lessons learned to guide future action.

The summit aims to inspire people, whatever their connection with The Salvation Army, to engage with the global migrant crisis, and find meaningful ways to share experiences, encourage each other, learn lessons and pray from a more informed perspective. As each session will be broadcast via Facebook Live, interactive segments will allow participants—wherever they are—to ask questions of the panelists or comment on the issues raised.

The six sessions held over the two days—anchored from both New York and London—will focus on topics such as the theology of migration and reception; The Salvation Army’s basis for responding; developing an understanding of the UN’s agenda for refugees and displaced people; and working with and advocating for migrants. The Salvation Army’s historical approach and current response will be evaluated while also looking forward, giving thought to realistic ways in which more people of faith can be mobilized to engage with the crisis in their own cultures, contexts and communities.

“We expect the summit to give opportunities for a wide range of people—including those who have been refugees and migrants—to share experiences and insights with experts on migration, frontline workers, theologians and UN personnel,” said Lt. Colonel Dean Pallant, Director of the ISJC. “Anyone involved in or interested in this global issue is welcome to join the conversation.’

Look for more details about panelists and topics in the new year at sar.my/refugeesummit.

Report by IHQ Communications

International Headquarters

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