Participants at a rally following the eviction of a refugee accommodation in Piazza Indipendenza, Rome, Italy, 26 August 2017 | Photo: ANSA/ANGELO CARCONI
Participants at a rally following the eviction of a refugee accommodation in Piazza Indipendenza, Rome, Italy, 26 August 2017 | Photo: ANSA/ANGELO CARCONI

The UN Refugee agency UNHCR is promoting dozens of initiatives across Italy for World Refugee Day on June 20. The goal is to share refugees' stories through art, music and gastronomy.

World Refugee Day is on June 20. The goal of this annual event promoted by the UN General Assembly: To raise awareness for the struggles of the over 70 million refugees, asylum seekers and displaced people worldwide.

To mark the day in Italy, the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR has organized many events and initiatives. They focus on the three pillars of the country's culture: art, music, and gastronomy. 

'Stories that are worth hearing' 

Presenting the events planned in Italy, UNHCR said in a statement that behind every refugee "is a story that is worth hearing. Stories of suffering, humiliations but also of those who were able to rebuild their future, offering their contribution to the society that welcomed them." 

The UN agency has launched a campaign called #WithRefugees to give visibility to solidarity and to connect local communities to refugees and asylum seekers.

"At a time in which a negative storyline on refugees and asylum seekers prevails, we stress once again that it is necessary to see them as people, how their baggage of courage and hope are only waiting for the right welcome to be able to express themselves", said Carlotta Sami, UNHCR spokeswoman for Southern Europe. 

"We hope that this day, with its rich program of initiatives across the national territory, will be able to help refugees and asylum seekers get closer to their hosting communities in a reciprocally beneficial way", added Roland Schilling, UNHCR interim regional representative for Southern Europe. 

Some of the events scheduled 

Among events scheduled to celebrate World Refugee Day, UNHCR is promoting "Porte Aperte" (Open Doors) in hosting centers to give refugees and local communities the opportunity to meet. 

Art initiatives include a photo exhibit called "Io So(g)no"- a play on words 'I am-dream' - focusing on the dreams of 15 unaccompanied minors between the ages of 14 and 17 living in hosting centers in Rome. 

A concert is planned for June 20 at Rome's Villa Ada with an orchestra of farm laborers and singer Nada. 

Two events will also celebrate diversity and integration through food. 

More information on the main events scheduled across Italy is available here.  
 

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