World Refugee Day

27 June 2023, 1137 EDT

World Refugee Day was last week (June 20). Ideally I would have written this then, but I haven’t been as good on real-time commenting since Twitter fell apart. I still found it important to say something here, though.

I am not an expert on this issue. I wrote one article on religious repression and forced migration, but my co-author had the subject matter expertise. I’ve written a few letters in support of asylum seeker resettlement in Vermont, using my understanding of the Middle East and Afghanistan to justify asylum claims.

That being said, I’m getting to the point in my career where I want to actually do something, rather than study it. And I felt surprisingly emotional when viewing Timothy P. Schmalz’s “Angels Unaware” sculpture when I was in St. Peter’s Square in Rome. The sculpture, unveiled in 2019, depicts individuals from refugee crises across history and is inspired by Hebrews 13:2, which calls for hospitality to strangers.

But again, I’m not an expert, and would rather listen to and amplify experts at this point, rather than coming up with own my own clever takes. So I wanted to draw attention to this new report by the Norwegian Refugee Council, and an accompanying op-ed in the Boston Globe.

The report contains detailed information on refugees and internally displaced people around the world, highlighting the presence of often overlooked crises. It also points to the increasing severity of this crisis.

It is lighter on solutions, although one could argue bringing awareness to these crises is important enough on its own. But other reports from the group provide more concrete steps.

So I’d just encourage Duck readers to look through this report, if they haven’t already. And I’d argue that this is an issue that touches on just about every aspect of international relations: inter- and intra-state war, political repression, religious and ethnic tensions, climate change and resource limitations, international organization and aid (in) effectiveness, etc.

It’s something we will all need to address at some point.