Idahoans will come together to celebrate World Refugee Day this month with music, food, dance and sharing of cultural traditions from around the world.
Boise's celebration is from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, June 18, at the Grove Plaza. A conjoined citizenship ceremony will start at 11 a.m., celebrating 14 people from eight countries who are receiving citizenship. They are originally from Iraq, Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Syria, Ukraine, Bhutan, Liberia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
World Refugee Day is recognized internationally in June to honor the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their home country to escape war and persecution. This recognition is especially important today as the number of displaced people globally has surpassed 100 million for the first time on record, according to The U.N. refugee agency.
“It’s a day to remember the hardships that folks went through, but also to celebrate their resilience and contributions and friendships that make us who we are as a community and as a nation,” said Tara Wolfson, director of the Idaho Office for Refugees.
Boise’s World Refugee Day event takes place Saturday, June 18, hosted by the Idaho Office for Refugees, Agency for New Americans and International Rescue Committee. We’ll gather from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at The Grove Plaza in downtown Boise alongside the Capital City Public Market.
Participants can try specialty meals from Amina’s Sambusas, Darjeeling MoMo and Tarbush Kitchen and enjoy dance and musical performances.
A citizenship ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. on the Grove Plaza that same day to celebrate the newest American citizens in our community.
World Refugee Day Boise is presented by the City of Boise and the Krazy Coupon Lady Foundation, with support from Tidwell Social Work Services, Islamic Center of Boise and Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center. Thank you to our community partners, the Idaho Museum of International Diaspora and Neighbors United.
The Magic Valley Refugee Day Celebration will take place Friday, June 24, at Twin Falls City Park, hosted by College of Southern Idaho Refugee Programs. Delicious food representing several countries will be served free of charge starting at 6 p.m., and cultural performances begin at 7 p.m. Magic Valley Refugee Day is sponsored by Tidwell Social Work Services, Chobani and the Idaho Office for Refugees.
RESETTLEMENT IN IDAHO
Idaho’s resettlement program began in 1975 as part of a national effort to receive refugees from Southeast Asia after the Vietnam War. Over the years Idaho has continued to welcome refugees from all over the world, most prominently in recent years from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq and Bhutan.
Resettlement programs are located in Boise, Twin Falls, and more recently in Pocatello in response to the crisis in Afghanistan. Idaho is also receiving many refugees displaced by the war in Ukraine.
Idaho refugee programs have resettled more than 700 people since Oct. 1, 2021, and our partnering nonprofit Idaho Alliance for Ukrainian Immigrants and Refugees estimates that an additional 200 people displaced from Ukrainian have arrived since March 1. Historically, our state has resettled anywhere from 250 to 1,300 refugees each year. They are eligible to become American citizens five years after arrival.
The Idaho Office for Refugees supports our nation’s founding belief of offering refuge and safety to people forced to leave their home countries due to persecution of their religious beliefs, political opinions, or ethnic heritage. We create opportunities for refugees and the larger community to connect and thrive together.
Photos: Daniel Olson Photography & Idaho Office for Refugees
Author: Holly Beech
Holly is the communication specialist for the Idaho Office for Refugees. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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