World Refugee Day 2020

 Webinar on “From Refugee to Librarian: In our own words” | 2020.06.18 | details <here> <flyer>

World Refugee Day 2020 is June 20th!  This international observance honors the courage, strength and determination of women, men and children who are forced to flee their homeland under threat of persecution, conflict and violence. 

As partners on the 2016-18 IMLS-funded planning grant: Project Welcome: Libraries and Community Anchors Planning for Resettlement and Integration of Refugees and Asylum Seekers, the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs and the American Library Association (ALA) invite libraries to commemorate World Refugee Day 2020. 

The Mortenson Center for International Library Programs and the American Library Association commemorate World Refugee Day 2021, affirming:
We are the United States*, welcoming people born here or afar.
We are neighbors, diverse cultures, connected in common humanity.
We are libraries**, welcoming all – people, ideas and knowledge.
We strengthen our communities from the most vulnerable to the most affluent.

Note: We invite other organizations to use this statement, replacing the * with their own location, and the ** with their own organization type/name.

To connect safely during the COVID-19 pandemic, we encourage virtual activities to support and celebrate refugees.

Support #WithRefugees

1. Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of 1980 Refugee Act (USA) [facsimile]

      • Libraries outside the United States – learn if your country has a similar act, and about the work of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)

2. Learn about refugees, and ways to uphold and strengthen a nation’s commitment to welcome and protect those seeking freedom, safety and refuge.

Participate in UNHCR’s #stepwithrefugees global challenge

Celebrate #WithRefugees

Host a Watch OR Listen Party

    1. Decide to host a watch OR a listen party.
    2. Select a video or podcast (see selected resources below).
    3. Invite the community to watch or listen individually OR together virtually, followed by a virtual conversation on a scheduled date and time.
    4. Use any virtual group communication platform, e.g., Facebook Watch Party feature, Facebook Rooms, Google Meet, Microsoft TeamsWebEx, Zoom,  etc.

What to Watch (below is freely available selected content)

What to Listen to (below is freely available selected content)

Use #WithRefugees, #WorldRefugeeDay and Project Welcome hashtags:  #projectwelcome, #librariesrespond, #libraries4refugees

Join us for a Webinar

Title:  From Refugee to Librarian: In our own words <flyer>
Date/Time: June 18th, 12-1 pm CST <regn>
Recording: click here

Moderator: Clara M. Chu, Director, Mortenson Center for International Library Programs, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library

Constantia Constantinou, H. Carton Rogers III Vice Provost and Director, Penn Libraries <more info>
Touger Vang, Director, Montgomery Community College Library <more info>

Abstract:  <flyer>
As librarians we have worked to create welcoming spaces and services for refugees. We have learned about them in order to support their resettlement and integration. The refugee stories we read about come from the communities we serve. How about the refugee stories that come from our own professional and academic community? In this webinar, we give voice to refugees who have become librarians or library educators. They will share their journey from persecution to resettlement to professional career, giving the listener a glimpse into their experiences of struggle, resilience, hope and belonging.

Co-sponsors: Mortenson Center for International Library Programs, ALA Office for Diversity, Literary and Outreach Services, ALA International Relations Office, ALA Services to Refugees, Immigrants, and Displaced Persons (SRIDP) Sub-Committee, and ALA International Relations Round Table.

For questions, write to and/or