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World Refugee Day Recap

Posted on July 8th, 2015.


Last month, June 20th, The Alliance for African Assistance hosted its 14th annual World Refugee Event at the La Jolla Presbyterian Church. With the goal of honoring the resilient and culturally rich San Diego refugee community, the event attracted 100 refugees and community members and was able to raise $700 through its silent auction.

In 2001, the UN established June 20th as World Refugee Day in order to recognize the millions of displaced civilians who are forced to flee their countries of residence due to conflict, war and persecution. Every year since the establishment of this globally recognized holiday, the Alliance for African Assistance has chosen to celebrate the refugees in San Diego in order to bring awareness to their bravery and allow San Diegans the opportunity to meet members who belong to this prominent community.

After gathering food from the breakfast buffet and settling into their seats, guests enjoyed performances by the melodic artistry of Iraqi singers Anmar Al Kaldany and Emad Serkis, whose fervent spirits enlivened the event, the improvisational expertise of Persian sitar player Kouroush Taghavi, who mesmerized audience members with his quick plucking, and the swift dancing of seven Burmese performers.

Keynote speaker and winner of the Refugee of the Year Award, Solange Butira, amazed guests with her story about her journey from war stricken East Congo to her settlement in the San Diego community. Butira’s speech allowed the audience a quick glimpse of the vast difficulty which accompanies refugee’s assimilation into western society-an endeavor, which for Butira, proved to be quite arduous.

To wrap up the performances, Alliance staff held an award ceremony in which Employer of the Year, Housing Agency of the Year, Ambassador of the Year, amongst a few others were presented to the dedicated individuals whose affiliations with the Alliance for African Assistance have been monumental.

This year’s event focused upon recognizing the immense fortitude of female refugees, who through determination and persistence have been able to overcome even the most formidable of circumstances. The Women’s Museum of California provided posters which illustrated the chilling experiences of women trailblazers who have risen above the violence and persecution which engulfed their lives.

President and CEO Walter Lam provided the perfect closing remarks stressing the importance of supporting the refugee community and thanking everyone for helping to make the Alliance’s aspirations possible.

The Alliance for African Assistance wants to thank all who participated in the event! We look forward to seeing you next year!