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Monday, February 6, 2017

Reflections on CTAUN 2017

When you hear the word “refugee” what comes to mind? Boat people from the Viet Nam era or maybe Latin Americans fleeing their homes to settle in the Southwest part of the United States? Perhaps you think about the pictures you see on the news or Facebook of the many Syrians desperately looking for somewhere to go.
                Refugees: The 21st Century Challenge was the title of the 18thAnnual CTAUN (Committee on Teaching About the United Nations) Conference held at the UN in New York. More than 65 million people in this world are considered refugees, with over 21 million of those being forcibly displaced from their homes. Currently 51% are children under the age of 18.
                At the conference we heard from speakers who shared these facts among many others. Did you know that the United States has accepted the smallest amount of refugees of any country in the world?
What spoke to me the most was the panel of student refugees who shared their stories. One young man said although he wanted desperately to attend school in the refugee camp it was often a choice between standing in line for food or going to the classes. Another explained that being resettled is not the end. Integration is very challenging. The student stories humanized the issue for me. They are real people who want the same things we do: food, water, an education, and most importantly a HOME.

At the conclusion of the conference a CTAUN Statement was read and adopted by the over 700 in attendance. This statement can be found under DKG@UN Relationship on the Educational Excellence Committee page under the Committees tab at  To find out more information about the conference and to get a complete summary visit .
DKG Members at CTAUN 2017

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