Former refugees bring beneficial diversity and contribute to Aotearoa New Zealand

World Refugee Day falls on June 20 each year and is an international day designated by the United Nations to honor refugees around the world, celebrating the strength and courage of those forced to flee their home countries for their own safety. in case of conflict or persecution. Each year has a theme, and the theme for 2022 is Who, when, where, everyone has the right to seek safety.

ChangeMakers Resettlement Forum endorses the theme, knowing full well as an organization founded and walking alongside former refugees that everyone indeed has the right to seek safety. We listen to the communities we represent and work alongside them to provide advocacy, research and community development with the goal of facilitating the full and equitable participation of those who call this country home during the safety-seeking process.

This year we celebrated (albeit a few days earlier) the remarkable amount of diversity that refugee communities bring to the Wellington region of Aotearoa in New Zealand, bringing together from Masterton, Porirua, Hutt Cities and Wellington , people of refugee background to share cultural performances, food, crafts and clothing… and being together and unifying in our diversity. Diversity is hugely beneficial to our society as it provides more than the fabulous range of foods we all love, but more importantly a diversity of thought patterns, knowledge and norms, which enriches creativity, ultimately leading to increased innovation.

Some of this participation and the daily contribution of refugee communities was shown during our celebration through the photographic exhibition ‘Here We Are’ produced by Ehsan Hazaveh on our behalf. This exhibition shows the reality of former refugees carrying on with their Kiwi lives, which, with proper support to learn how to navigate this society, is the most common outcome.

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Good grief. Has commentary on foreign policy really evolved to the point where our diplomatic effort is measured by the number of foreign trips made by our foreign minister? Weird, but apparently yes. All this week, a series of media policy buffs have obnoxiously compared Nanaia Mahuta’s offshore voyage count, to that of her Australian counterpart. Even taking into account how Covid has made overseas travel a rarity for everyone over the past two years… If we’re really going to resort to a frequent flyer standard to measure diplomatic effectiveness, then Murray McCully would be the greatest foreign secretary in the history of this country. . Believe me, he wasn’t…

James C. Tibbs