Addressing the global refugee crisis at its root
Dear Friend of IGE,
Can one person make a difference?
The current debate about refugees has made me think harder about this question.
My faith calls me to welcome the stranger, love my neighbor, and stand in the gap for “the least of these.” At the Institute for Global Engagement (IGE), we stand with churches and faith communities across America in our commitment to these values.
Yet the world is not safe. For peace to prosper here in the U.S. and around the world, we need to do more to address the global refugee crisis at its root. You and I must do more to stop the spread of violent extremism and bring reconciliation to places in conflict.
There are over 65 million people worldwide who have been displaced from their home because of conflict and persecution. Of those 65 million, only a small fraction (0.3%) were able to return home in 2015. An even smaller percentage (less than 0.2%) resettled in another country (United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees).
The vast majority of refugees live in temporary camps or settlements, often for decades or even generations, struggling to sustain themselves on small amounts of aid and to stay safe in unstable and sometimes unwelcoming countries. What can be done for this 99.5%, who cannot return home and don’t have the chance for a new home in the U.S. or another country?
The magnitude of these issues is overwhelming. How can I, as one person, have an impact on the lives of people so far away? Perhaps I cannot reach out and touch the lives of the 99%, but at IGE I am privileged to work with people who can.
Take for instance Isidonie Bizimana, an IGE Center for Women, Faith & Leadership (CWFL) Fellow. Isidonie is from Burundi. She lost her father, mother, and her four siblings in the civil war between Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups. Today, she works as a lawyer to bring lasting peace:
“Even if the wars stop, conflict stays … Through my law firm, I do conflict resolution. I use my time to go and resolve questions around the law in order to bring peace. If we can stop the wars and resolve conflict, people can then begin to think about development. But if we remain in war, we can never overcome this problem of poverty and injustice.”
How can you make a difference? You already have! To date, your generous donations to the Institute for Global Engagement’s programs, including its “Cradle Fund” originally launched in 2014 in partnership with TV producer Mark Burnett and his wife actress Roma Downey, have provided tangible assistance to over 125,000 individuals displaced by conflict in five countries in the Middle East.
But we have only scratched the surface of this global crisis.
Will you take a stand to show that you value both compassion and security? Please make an online gift of $25, $100, or $1,000 or more today to stand with your displaced brothers and sisters across the globe!
Stand with us against religious persecution worldwide. Your actions at home can have an impact on the refugee crisis. We encourage you to take action with us:
- Call your representative to ask them to uphold our country’s principles of religious freedom.
- Learn more about the recent Executive Order on terrorism, immigration, and refugees from IGE board member and international human rights lawyer Angela Wu Howard.
- Join our monthly calls to discuss the role of religion in critical global issues, such as our recent call with Thomas F. Farr on “What President Trump Should—and Shouldn’t—Do About International Religious Freedom.”
- Learn more about religious freedom issues through IGE’s publications and media resources
- Encourage others to get involved. Share your thoughts on social media. #RefugeeCrisis: How do you balance compassion and security? “Follow” us on Twitter @engageyourworld and “Like” us on Facebook.
Your continued support will also enable us to empower more individuals like Isidonie and other CWFL Fellows to bring reconciliation and peace to communities in conflict.
Only by cultivating transformational relationships between communities, religious groups, and governments can we resolve the root of the refugee crisis. The 99% deserve a better chance. Let’s give them that chance.
Sincerely, James Chen Executive Director
P.S. Please prayerfully consider making a gift today — your gift will have a transformative impact in the lives of refugees caught in this global crisis!
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