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Getting to know World Refugee Day

By Maria Gregoriou

There are a number of events just around the corner to celebrate World Refugee Day, on June 20, dedicated to raising awareness about refugees around the world.

The first event is the second Street Festival at Faneromeni in Nicosia tomorrow from 6pm until 10pm.

The festival will celebrate multiculturalism, giving us the chance to get a few tastes from around the world, listen to some diverse music and learn about the rich culture brought to Cyprus by refugees.

There will be arts and crafts by Cypriots and refugee communities, traditional food prepared by refugee communities living on the island, a kids’ corner where young people can be entertained, information stands where you can receive information from participating organisations and world music played by DJ Claudio.

The second event is a children’s drawing exhibition at the Multifunctional centre at the Nicosia Municipality in Nicosia on Thursday at 7pm.

The exhibition will showcase drawings by children from the refugee and local community to send a message of hope and solidarity to refuges children around the world, and it is being organised by the UN Refugee Agency in Cyprus.

Also the Goethe-Institut in Nicosia will be marking World Refugee Day with a film evening on the topic of refugees, on Monday.

The event will start with a welcome at 7.30pm and then the screening of the 2007 French documentary Barcelone ou la mort.

The documentary is set in Thiaroye in Senegal, a fishermen’s village which is no longer peaceful nor does it offer its youth a future.

Someone from each family in the village dreams of leaving at any price. People start organising illegal boat departures for Europe.

One of the film’s characters, Modou attempted the journey to Europe twice, during which he almost lost his life. Soon he’ll try his luck again and many other youths will follow his example.

Modou’s cousin Talla is at the other side of the spectrum. He is an English teacher who has chosen to stay in Senegal to work towards the development of his country. He tries to make his students aware of the dangers of the crossing, when most have lost all hope in the future of the country.

After the screening of the documentary there will be a reception in the garden followed by the screening of the German 2011 film Die Farbe des Ozeans at 9.15pm.

In this film Nathalie, a German tourist, witnesses a boat full of Africans which is stranded. Among the survivors she sees a man with his little son and wants to help but a police officer sends her away.

But she decides to help the refugee Zola and little Mamadou and establishes contact with them against her husband’s wishes. Although her intentions are good, fate and political problems get in the way.

Both screenings will have English subtitles.

This year marks 15 years since World Refugee Day was officially set by the UN General Assembly in 2000.

Street Festival
Arts and crafts exhibition, traditional food, kids’ corner, music and more to mark World Refugee Day. June 17. Faneromeni Square, Nicosia. 6pm-10pm. Tel: 22-873820

A Children’s Drawing Exhibition
An exhibition to mark World Refugee Day. June 18. Multifunctional Centre, Nicosia Municipality. 7pm. Tel: 22-359057

Film Evening
Film screening for World Refugee day. June 22. Goethe-Institut, Nicosia. 7.30pm. Free. Tel: 22-674607

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