UNHCR World Refugee Day – Accomplishments, accolades and annotations

In June we shared information about the UNHCR’s World Refugee Day (WRD) events and Khaled’s participation in their 2012 Dilemma campaign. If you have not had a chance to see Khaled’s video, please check it out! Khaled had the opportunity to participate in the UN daily briefing as part of WRD events. Watch it now to learn more about the refugee situation in Afghanistan. If you haven’t had the opportunity to read Khaled’s speech for WRD, read it now.

Khaled was also honored as an Outstanding American by Choice by the State Department. In his acceptance speech Khaled said, “The truth is that if I’m being called an outstanding American today, it’s because the United States made the choice to grant asylum to myself and my family back in 1980. Our homeland of Afghanistan had been invaded by the Soviet Union and war had erupted. And weekly, I remember hearing news from Kabul of people that we knew back home: friends, relatives, people I’d been raised with, aunts, uncles, who were being imprisoned, tortured, killed, or would simply disappear. We heard harrowing tales of people fleeing and trekking across deserts and over mountain ranges in the dark of night. And I think a lot about how fortunate I’ve been. And every day, I give thanks for this miraculous act of generosity and for my home and this great nation. And I imagine, as I have on many occasions, what my life, how it might have turned out, had the U.S. not granted asylum to my family and me.

In 1980, I was 15 years old. If I’d returned to Afghanistan, I’m certain that my options would have been few and they would have been dire. It’s entirely likely that I would have been drafted and sent to fight. I might have been injured, paralyzed, or killed. My family may have fled to Pakistan. They may have had to live in a refugee camp. Our prospects for leaving a refugee camp and having a home of our own again would have been dim. And some of the people that I love might have died long before we had a chance to resettle. So I’ve been very fortunate indeed.”. Read the entire speech.

As WRD events have drawn to a close, we have been able to reflect on the events for 2012 and are pleased to share some results from the UNHCR:

  • 24,161  Number of people who pledged to stand with Angelina Jolie on World Refugee Day
  • 4,712  Number of tweets in support of #WorldRefugeeDay
  • 3,874  Number who saw Angelina Jolie’s public service announcement online
  • 2,519  Number who watched the UNHCR’s “Dilemmas” video series
  • $40,522 – Amount raised for refugees for UNHCR

We hope you will support the UNHCR’s 2012 Dilemma campaign by sharing their video series with your friends and families. Raising awareness about refugee issues is the first step in combating the life threatening issues they face.

USA for UNHCR The UN Refugee Agency

Khaled Hosseini

© John Dolan