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World Refugee Day is this Friday!

Please join us this Friday, June 21, in Market Square for World Refugee Day Pittsburgh 2019. From 11 am until 2:00 pm enjoy performances, crafts, food and stories that show the talents of refugees and immigrants living in our city.

World Refugee Day commemorates the strength, courage, and perseverance of millions of refugees who are forced to leave their homes to start a new life with their families. Pittsburgh, often referred to as a city built by immigrants, has welcomed refugees from all over the world, and World Refugee Day is their day to shine.

The day will include multicultural performances such as poetry, music and dance, and diverse food and craft vendors. There will also be children’s activities, and refugee and immigrant speakers will share their personal experiences and stories.

We are pleased to announce that this year’s event has drawn several distinguished guests who will participate in the program:

This year’s emcee is Khara Timsina, co-founder of the Bhutanese Community Association of Pittsburgh (BCAP) where he currently serves as the Executive Director.

  • Mayor Bill Peduto and County Executive Rich Fitzgerald are among the speakers.
  • Lawrence (Larry) Bartlett is Director of the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (which oversees the US government’s refugees programs).
  • Matthew Reynolds from UNHCR (Office of the UN High Commissioner of Refugees, the UN Refugee Agency), USA branch
  • Mark Hetfield, President & CEO of HIAS. Mr. Hetfield was last in Pittsburgh in the days immediately following October 27, since the Tree of Life shooter referenced HIAS as a motive for his actions.

Several refugees will share their personal stories of coming to America, and several groups are scheduled to perform in dance, music and poetry.

Generally, World Refugee Day also hosts an oath ceremony for a dozen or so immigrants to become American citizens. This year, however, the oath ceremony will be held earlier – at 10 am – at the Pittsburgh City County Building. This ceremony is open to the public.

Many thanks to our partner AJAPO for taking the lead on organizing this year’s event. Community partners include Jewish Family & Community Services (JFCS), the American Red Cross of Southwestern PA, Global Wordsmiths, South Hills Interfaith Movement (SHIM), Literacy Pittsburgh, All for All, Alliance for Refugee Youth Support and Education (ARYSE) and Hello Neighbor. Thanks to sponsors Allegheny Health Network and Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield.

The event is free and open to everyone! If you work in the area, stop by for an exotic lunch! Like us on Facebook: ​ ​https://www.facebook.com/events/890560914620827/2900. Don’t miss this colorful, family-friendly event!