Rethinking Refugees - Knowledge & Action was Poland's most significant event to address the refugee migration issue that was organized in cooperation with Dr. Karolina Czerska- Shaw, Karol Wilczynski & Anna Wilczynska. The meeting aimed to raise awareness about the refugee situation, engage in open dialogue about the same, debunk myths about the situation, and humanise refugees and asylum seekers.
The speakers included academics, humanitarian workers, entrepreneurs, social activists, refugees, and artists. Janina Ochojska, the Polish Humanitarian Aid founder, spoke about why we need to help refugees. Marina Julia, an activist, spoke about the situation of refugees from Chechnya and Adel Albaghdadi, a Syrian refugee now in Rotterdam, Netherlands, spoke about his journey from Syria to Europe and his work on facilitating an open dialogue between citizens and the newcomers.
We also had smaller events, including a photo exhibition by UNHCR Polska titled 'The most important thing,' which focused on stories of refugees and the 'the most important thing' they took with them when they fled their homes. We also organised a networking breakfast and several parallel workshops ranging from art, theatre, film, policies, integration, & the importance of inclusion by practitioners in the field. We played a video montage of four other asylum seekers who shared similar stories. Mohammed, a former refugee from the Moria refugee camp, wanted to share a message with the world 'Stop the war, don't stop the people.'
Overall, with this interdisciplinary event, we reiterated that we have to actively find ways to integrate theory and practice to find durable solutions.