Seeking Refuge: Faith-Based Approaches to Forced Migration

Seeking Refuge: Faith-Based Approaches to Forced Migration

March 3 - March 4, 2017 | Princeton University

     Seeking Refuge is the second conference in the Poverty and Peacemaking series hosted by Princeton's Office of Religious Life and the Community of Sant'Egidio.  Seeking Refuge reflects the shared principles of its co-hosts. Princeton University’s Office of Religious Life (ORL) understands religious life to include intellectual, moral, artistic, and civic life, and therefore encourages partnerships across religious lines and between secular and religious constituencies. The Community of Sant’Egidio is a global Catholic lay movement whose work includes brokering peace agreements internationally and serving the marginalized locally through friendship and personal encounter. This year, Sant’Egidio launched Humanitarian Corridors, a pilot project that grants refugee families humanitarian visas to Italy, offering a safe and humane alternative to the often dangerous and exploitative dealings of human traffickers.

     Our chosen topic is in recognition of the refugee crises as a singular problem of our time, and the critical role of a vibrant faith-based response. According to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), there are 21.3 million refugees and 65.3 million displaced people worldwide. One out of every 113 people on our planet are displaced. We are in a period of great political volatility in which the foreigner is often rejected. Faith-based organizations and communities are on the front lines of work with refugees, and they continue to welcome and care for refugees long after mandated assistance ends.

     Seeking Refuge will include panel discussions, intimate roundtable conversations, and an opening and closing ceremony. It will convene experts from every sector concerned with this problem: faith- based and secular agencies, government and interagency officials, scholars, grassroots religious leaders, human rights advocates, philanthropists, journalists, students, and refugees themselves. With such an interdisciplinary range of participants we hope to share and learn from each other’s diverse experience and expertise. Of course we stand united in faith and vocation on the necessity to help and welcome our global neighbors. From there we can engage the complications of forced migration work from our different and sometimes contradictory perspectives, while building new friendships and drawing attention and heightened concern to our shared problem.

     Though a moment of crisis, the movement of people shows the possibility of change, making this also a moment of hope. We seek a call to action and a theological alternative to rejection and fear.  

Read about Seeking Refuge in Millenial Journal:

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