Celebrating Diversity, Maintaining Shared Humanity: Experiences of Refugee Week
Since it began in 1998, Refugee Week has been celebrated every year in June in the UK. It has become a high profile week, marked by community groups, schools, hospitals, libraries and faith groups holding numerous cultural, artistic, educational and thought-provoking events across the UK. Refugee Week event organisers aim to celebrate the positive contributions that refugees and asylum seekers make to the UK and to promote positive understanding about why people seek sanctuary. Events aim to challenge negative stereotypes of refugees and asylum seekers and bring together people on a national scale. This paper will explore the concept of Refugee Week and examine some of the positive and negative impacts of Refugee Week upon communities. The challenges of celebrating diversity whilst maintaining shared humanity will be discussed and ideas for good practice in working with refugee groups shared.
Keywords: Refugee Week, Diversity, Community, Multicultural Education, Refugee Integration, Belonging, Volunteering, Prejudice, Stereotypes, Othering
PhD student in Refugee Care, Department of Psychoanalytic Studies (Refugee Care), University of Essex and Tavistock Clinic London
Dr. Thein Than Tun
Researcher, Computing Department, Open University