World Refugee Day 2017 in Italy

Sudanese refugees

ROME- The World Refugee Day, an annual event established by the United Nations General Assembly, is celebrated June 20, with the aim of raising public awareness on the status of millions of refugees and asylum seekers who are forced to flee wars and violence and to leave their loved ones, their own home and everything that was once part of their lives.

 More than anything else, World Refugee Day invites all of us never to forget that behind each refugee there is a story that deserves to be heard. Many share stories of suffering and humiliation, but others recount how they have managed to rebuild their future and contribute to the society that welcomed them. 

 To pursue this goal, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) continues its #WithRefugees campaign, to show its solidarity and empathy towards refugees, amplifying the voice of those who welcome them and strengthening the links between local communities, refugees and asylum seekers to promote mutual knowledge. 

 #WithRefugees is also a petition with which UNHCR calls on governments to ensure that every refugee child gets an education, every refugee family has somewhere safe to live and every refugee can work or learn new skills to make a positive contribution to their community. On the campaign website, it is possible to find the petition, refugees’ stories, expressions of solidarity coming from the world of culture, sport and entertainment, all the information on the main initiatives planned throughout the country are available. 

 The following are among the events that will be held on the World Refugee Day, which will begin on Tuesday, June 20, but will continue until the end of the month:

 Champions #WithRefugees: together with Associazione Italiana Calciatori (the Italian Footballers’ Association) and with the support of AS Roma, UNHCR has organized a friendly match between a team of renowned footballers and celebrities and Liberi Nantes, a team of asylum seekers and refugees. The match wants to be a symbol of integration through sport. A musical interlude will be offered by the Little Orchestra of Torpignattara. The match will be held on June 18, at 5 pm at Stadio Tre Fontane, Rome. Free entry. 

 Chefs #WithRefugees: after the first edition organized in France last year, four Italian cities will host the Refugee Food Festival: Milan (on 16 and 20 June, at Eataly Smeraldo), Florence (from 26 to 30 June, organized in collaboration with the volunteers of Festina Lente Association; the concluding evening will be at the Reception Centre La Brocchi), Rome (20 June at Eataly Ostiense) and Bari (18 June, at Eataly). UNHCR, together with Food Sweet Food, and in collaboration with Eataly and volunteers from the Festina Lente Association, will hold a series of culinary events to welcome refugee chefs in kitchens of restaurants. 

 Art#WithRefugees: an installation at the MAXXI Museum, Rome (from 20 to 25 June) and a photographic exhibition at Galleria Alberto Sordi, Rome (from 11 to 25 June). MAXXI Museum will host S.O.S. - Save Our Souls by Achilleas Souras, a project to retrieve the life jackets used by refugees and migrants during the Mediterranean crossings and transform them into an igloo shelter; a Photographic exhibition “#WithRefugees” within the Alberto Sordi Gallery, portraying eight maxi-photographs by Francesco Malavolta, Alessandro Penso and Alessio Romenzi. 

 WebNotte#WithRefugees: the great live music program of conducted by Ernesto Assante and Gino Castaldo joins the #WithRefugees campaign and devotes six broadcasts to refugees (from 2 May to 6 June) and a special broadcast on 23 June to celebrate the World Refugee Day: in the WebNotte studios, young refugee girls and boys will meet the audience and guest artists and will tell their stories. 

 Open day #WithRefugees: UNHCR, together with the SPRAR Network and managing bodies, in collaboration with other associations such as ARCI, Caritas, Astalli Center and Refugees Welcome wants to showcase the expressions of solidarity towards refugees, amplifying the voices of those who welcome them and strengthening the link between local communities, refugees and asylum seekers. For this reason, people are asked to show solidarity to refugees meeting them during an Open Day at reception centers. The map of the centers which can be visited is available on

 Global Trends 2016: Presentation of the UNHCR’s “Global Trends 2016” report, a global mapping of flows of men, women and children fleeing wars, persecutions and human rights violations. UNHCR, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be present at the event, which will be held on June 20 at Sala dell’Associazione Stampa Estera, Via dell’Umiltà 83/c, Rome. 

 “Now as never before it is necessary to stand with refugees," highlighted Carlotta Sami, UNHCR spokeswoman for Southern Europe.

“Refugees are people who have not chosen to leave their country and who face a huge challenge: to start from scratch again in a new community, which is often distrustful and, at times, even hostile. This year we want people to meet and get to know their new neighbors, discover their talents and generosity," added Sami.

“Whoever stands with refugees has decided to help us show these qualities by giving them a voice, meeting them in a reception center, cooking together, sharing a football field or a stage to play. You are all invited."



Carlotta Sami, UNHCR spokeswoman for Southern Europe