Dr Allán Laville, Dean for Diversity and Inclusion & Lecturer in Clinical Psychology
Alice Mpofu-Coles, Honorary MUniv (OU), PhD candidate Human Geography/Refugee Champion, Community Engagement EDI
Dr Charlotte Newey, Lecturer in Philosophy
Hatty Taylor, Diversity and Inclusion Advisor
Nozomi Tolworthy, Diversity and Inclusion Advisor
Dr Ruvi Ziegler, Associate Professor
Refugee Week is a UK-wide festival celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary. It was first celebrated in 1998, designed to coincide with UN World Refugee Day which is marked on 20th June.
At the University of Reading, we want to raise awareness and develop understanding of the lived experience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary.
The theme of this year is ‘We Cannot Walk Alone’.
Refugee Week’s vision is:
“for refugees and asylum seekers to be able to live safely within inclusive and resilient communities, where they can continue to make a valuable contribution.
Refugee Week is an umbrella festival, and anyone can get involved by holding or joining an event or activity. Refugee Week events happen in all kinds of different spaces and range from arts festivals, exhibitions, film screenings and museum tours to football tournaments, public talks and activities in schools.”
City of Sanctuary and the University of Reading
City of Sanctuary is a national movement of local people and community groups committed to creating a culture of welcome and safety, especially for refugees seeking sanctuary from war and persecution. The University of Reading first signed the Reading-specific City of Sanctuary pledge in April 2017. The University pledged to support the ‘City of Sanctuary‘ vision that the UK will be a welcoming place of safety for all and proud to offer sanctuary to people fleeing violence and persecution. Reading was awarded City of Sanctuary status in July 2017.
This year, we have relaunched the Sanctuary Scholarship Scheme, details of which can be found in this article – University shows support to sanctuary seekers.
In addition to the scholarship scheme, we have recently launched the ‘Buy a coffee and support a sanctuary seeker‘, which means that instead of ordering your usual cappuccino, buy two drinks and leave one in the bank to support local sanctuary seekers and Reading City of Sanctuary! , local sanctuary seekers can visit the cafe, receive a hot drink from the bank and participate in the same café culture we can all enjoy and benefit from at the University.
As refugee week coincides with Pride Month, it is high time to reflect on the discrimination, violence, and persecution that LGBT+ persons face in all corners of the world (70 countries still criminalise consensual sexual relations between men!) causing them to flee and seek safety and freedom elsewhere, including in the UK. The University of Reading is committed to helping refugees and asylum seekers of all sexual orientations, gender identities, races, and religions. Tolerance and acceptance are fundamental to our values, and we feel a deep responsibility to protect and welcome those who have historically been discriminated against, including LGBT+ refugees.
Reading Refugee Support Group (RRSG)
RRSG are Reading’s local charity dedicated to supporting refugees and asylum seekers. They have been supporting people in the Berkshire area for over 25 years. This year, RRSG are launching a campaign asking individuals and groups to complete seven actions for seven days, which centre around supporting RRSG, joining a national campaign to demand ’Safe routes now’, attending a film screening, making donations, as well as other ways to support the charity, and refugees in the Berkshire area.
They told us:
“For Refugee Week, we are challenging you to take on Seven Actions For Seven Days to help refugees living in Berkshire. We also proudly present a Programme of Special Refugee Week Events celebrating all aspects of refugee strength, culture and creativity.
Find out more about the challenge and our programme of events here: https://rrsg.org.uk/refugee-week-2021/
Please help spread the word and share this far and wide!”
Activities and Events
There are also plenty of that you can attend to celebrate the contribution of refugees and people seeking sanctuary, and learn about their journeys:
Monday 14th June – Sunday 20th June 2021
A programme of films available to watch at home during Refugee Week, produced by Counterpoints Arts, which coordinates Refugee Week nationally.
Sunday 7th June – Sunday 21st June 2021, 16:30-18:00
Together Workshops from theatre company PSYCHEdelight on the theme of Imagine.
Refugee Week Drama Workshops
Tuesday 1st June – Wednesday 30th June 2021
Join the Walk with MIRIAM challenge in solidarity with refugee and migrant women and girls.
Sign Up To Walk With MIRIAM
- Walk ‘n’ Talk Group on Campus
Wednesday 23rd June, 14:00-15:30
To book your place, please email email@example.com
A recording of a recent evening of theatre, written and performed by refugees in Berkshire.
A UK Refugee based in Reading who teamed up with @iamjermainebless_official, a spoken word / rapper in Reading to help tell his story.
Click here to watch
- Reading Community Cup – World Refugee Day Football Tournament
Sunday 20th June, 10:00-15:00
Venue: D Pitches (located behind the dome), Madjeski Stadium, Shooters Way, Reading, RG2 0FL
In celebration of International Refugee Day, RRSG are launching Reading’s first Community Cup! Participants will be: Berkshire’s only refugee football team, Sanctuary Strikers FC, along with teams from University of Reading, Thames Valley Police and Reading West, the competition aims: “to promote unity and integration through the international language of football.”
Teams: Giving Back United (UoR), Reading West, Sanctuary Strikers FC, Thames Valley Police
The Reading Community Cup is created in partnership with Reading FC Community Trust, University of Reading, Reading City of Sanctuary and Reading Refugee Support Group.