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World Refugee Day 2024: Solutions for the Largest Displacement Crisis on Record

June 20, 20242:18

World Refugee Day honors the resilience and contributions of refugees around the world. According to the UNHCR, there are more than 117 million individuals who have been displaced worldwide because of persecution, conflict, and violence. UNHCR says it is the highest level of displacement on record. 

John Thon Majok, Director of the Wilson Center's Refugee and Forced Displacement Initiative (RAFDI), provides an overview of possible solutions and successful strategies to tackle refugee challenges around the world. He covers the successful integration policies in Colombia and Uganda, the US’ “Welcome Corps” refugee program, and the Bipartisan Congressional Refugee Caucus. He also shares ideas for addressing root causes of forced displacement.

Video Transcript

  • Here at the Wilson Center, the Refugee and Full Displacement Initiative, is hosting the World Refugee Day, with a theme of celebrating refugees, talents and host country leadership. So we are focusing on the positive aspect of how refugees change society once they are welcome there. And then we are celebrating also the leadership of host countries that give refugees opportunities. 

    Colombia has done remarkably well in terms of integration policies, integrating Venezuela refugees and migrants into the country by giving them a ten year temporary protected status. And that allowed them to have access to school, social services. That's one host country. 

    Another is Uganda, which gives teaching to refugees so that they can become, self-reliant. 

    US has piloted a program called “Welcome Corps” And that's where private citizen kind of sponsor refugees from abroad who go through the US process, But the citizen can now get involved, unlike in the past. It's a three year pilot initiative, and I think that's a good way of involving the public. I think the best way to address the root cause that can lead to forced displacement is to stop the war and bring peace. That is the message that any child can say, from Israel to Sudan. They want war to be stopped. 

    So policy that bring peace, would address the issue. And then the in terms of the US refugee policy, I think refugee policy has been a bipartisan effort. And so Congress should resuscitate the bipartisan congressional refugee caucus. We need to focus the issue on this subject. The other thing is that helping these host countries that are trying their best to integrate refugees by providing resources to them, and I think, refugees once given the opportunity, they can be part of the solution.



John Thon Majok

John Thon Majok

Director of Refugee and Forced Displacement Initiative (RAFDI); Deputy Director of Development
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Refugee and Forced Displacement Initiative

The Refugee and Forced Displacement Initiative (RAFDI) provides evidence-based analyses that translate research findings into practice and policy impact. Established in 2022 as a response to an ever-increasing number of people forcibly displaced from their homes by protracted conflicts and persecution, RAFDI aims to expand the space for new perspectives, constructive dialogue and sustainable solu­tions to inform policies that will improve the future for the displaced people.  Read more