U.S. Department of State Recognizes World Refugee Day (June 20)

In honor of World Refugee Day on June 20, officials from the U.S. Department of State are participating in a variety of outreach activities in Baltimore, Washington, D.C., New York City, and New Jersey to honor the contributions of refugees making new lives in communities across the U.S.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will be attending an interfaith Iftar reception this evening at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society center in Sterling, Virginia, where he is looking forward to meeting with refugee families and the communities that have so generously welcomed them to the United States. He will be joined in making remarks and meeting with community leaders by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Special Envoy Angelina Jolie Pitt, a tireless advocate on behalf of refugees.

This afternoon, the Secretary and Special Envoy Jolie Pitt will meet with a group of State Department employees who are former refugees or the sons and daughters of refugees. Following that roundtable, the Secretary and Special Envoy will hold a bilateral meeting to discuss refugee and other issues. The Secretary will also speak with a group of college students who are visiting the Department to participate in the U.S. Diplomacy Center’s diplomatic simulation on refugees and forced displacement. He will have the opportunity to see young Americans engaged in learning how to resolve a simulated humanitarian crisis through diplomacy.

Ambassador Samantha Power will represent the United States Mission to the United Nations later tonight at a photo exhibit organized jointly with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) at the New York Public Library.

Recognizing refugees’ contributions to American society, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken will represent the Department at a naturalization ceremony being held today at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. He will deliver remarks, and welcome some of America’s newest citizens to a nation founded on the perseverance and dedication of immigrants. Deputy Secretary Blinken will also attend a small, informal training session for community leaders from across the United States who came to America as refugees and are dedicated to helping arriving refugees to integrate successfully.

U.S. Deputy Secretary for Management and Resources Heather Higginbottom will participate in a public service announcement sponsored by the Ad Council. Through this campaign, Deputy Secretary Higginbottom will explain the strength and importance of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, and will highlight the positive impact that refugees have on their communities.

This past weekend, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration Anne C. Richard spoke with refugees in Baltimore at a World Refugee Day event sponsored by representatives of the local community. Joined by the Mayor of Baltimore Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Assistant Secretary Richard conveyed her deep, heartfelt appreciation for the Baltimore community’s outstanding support for refugees, and her admiration for those who are leading successful lives in their new homes. Today, Assistant Secretary Richard, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Anne Patterson, and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Linda Thomas-Greenfield will discuss the refugee crisis and other foreign policy issues at a luncheon held today by the Women’s Foreign Policy Group.

Special Representative for Religion and Global Affairs Shaun Casey will travel to New Jersey later this week to attend a World Refugee Day event hosted by a local resettlement agency, highlight the role of religious communities in welcoming refugees, and thank local volunteers for their contributions. Special Representative to Muslim Communities Shaarik Zafar and Assistant Secretary Richard will join the Secretary at the interfaith dinner tonight at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society in Sterling, Virginia.

Special Representative for Business and Commercial Affairs Ziad Haidar is meeting today with business owners and refugees to discuss how refugees can and do fill roles much in demand in today’s economy – from healthcare to education to technology.

These efforts demonstrate the Department’s commitments to leading the global response to refugee crises, through the provision of humanitarian assistance and in marshaling our diplomatic resources to ask every individual and every nation to do more.

Building on this commitment, President Obama will co-host the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees in New York on September 20. The goal of the President’s summit is to expand the humanitarian safety net and create more long-term, durable opportunities for refugees.

The United States remains committed to finding safe, new lives for the world’s most vulnerable people as they flee conflict, terrorism, and persecution.