DR Congo: 50 years older but not much wiser

By Camilla Olson
As the Congolese government celebrates 50 years of independence and rolls out the red carpet in Kinshasa for visiting dignitaries – including top UN official Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the King of Belgium – let’s not forget about the hundreds of thousands of Congolese people who remain displaced from their homes due to ongoing conflict. I doubt anyone will be giving them cake today.

U.S. Engagement in Sudan: Easier Said than Done

By Jennifer Smith
As we move closer to the January 2011 referendum on southern Sudanese independence and a laundry list of unresolved issues remains between the two parties, criticism of U.S. Special Envoy Scott Gration is reaching fever pitch. It is hard to go more than a couple of days without reading an article, paper or blog somewhere in the U.S. complaining about his perceived shortcomings and suggesting that solutions would be just around the corner, if only the Obama Administration could get its act together.

Iraqi Refugees: "The Unreturned" Documentary

By Sara Fusco

Last week, Refugees International and the International Rescue Committee were co-presenters of a documentary about Iraqi refugees at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in New York City.  The Unreturned is a powerful depiction of the lives of five Iraqis as they struggle to begin again in Syria and Jordan after fleeing violence in Iraq.

Kuwait: Enduring a life of non-existence

By Charlotte Ponticelli
Imagine that you have just given birth to a new baby in the country where you, your parents, and perhaps even your grandparents were born. But under current law, you and your baby are considered “illegal residents” of your own country, denied citizenship, and relegated to inferior status for life. In fact, your baby is not even considered worthy of a birth certificate – that is, unless you and your husband agree to be strong-armed into listing yourselves on the certificate as “non-citizens” or even into choosing an artificial nationality for the sake of your child's future.

World Refugee Day: Time for a new paradigm?

By Joel Charny
Sunday, June 20 is World Refugee Day, the annual date on which we celebrate the courage and tenacity of refugees worldwide, and reflect on the massive gaps that remain in responding fully to their needs. This year, more than ever perhaps, is a good opportunity to reflect on whether the iconic image of the refugee – an African woman with several children at her feet posing in front of a tent with her meager belongings – conveys refugee reality adequately.

Guest Blogger: Tom Getman on Athol Fugard's "Have you Seen Us"

By Tom Getman

The second most widely produced playwright in the world after William Shakespeare is South African Athol Fugard, who indeed has been described as the “greatest playwright writing in English since Shakespeare.” Those present on June 9 witnessed the power of his craft and his riveting personal presence at the a staged reading of “Have You Seen Us,” Mr. Fugard’s first play set in the United States. The performance at Washington D.C.’s Folger Theatre was sponsored by The Faith and Politics Institute, and featured Refugees International’s Vice Chair, Sam Waterston in the lead role.

RI on Capitol Hill: Speaking Out in Support of the Stateless

By Gabriella Hecht

Only weeks after Refugees International President Dan Glickman testified at a Congressional hearing in support of the Refugee Protection Act of 2010, RI co-hosted an event with UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency on Capitol Hill to raise awareness of the nearly 12 million stateless individuals worldwide who face the daily nightmare of having no nationality.

Jackson Hole Circle: Inspiring Generous Action

By Tat Maxwell

Far from the traditional halls of power, Refugees International hosted our 7th annual Jackson Hole Circle event last week at the Shooting Star Ranch in Jackson, Wyoming; our most successful circle event of all time. Her Majesty Queen Noor headlined a compelling program that also featured RI Senior Advocate Elizabeth Campbell and our board chair Eileen Shields-West as the master of ceremonies.

Somali Refugees in Nairobi: Creating Pathways for Dignity and Independence

By Elizabeth Campbell
Tens of thousands of Somali refugees have sought asylum in Nairobi, Kenya.  For almost two decades, many of these refugees have been successful entrepreneurs, building businesses that not only provide a living for their families but also sometimes employ members from the local Kenyan community.  Far from being passive recipients of international humanitarian aid, many Somalis have been able to turn crumbling urban environments into centers of economic activity.  Nowhere is this more evident than in Eastleigh or “Little Mogadishu,” a low-income commercial center just outside of Nairobi. 

RI's Web Roundup

By Briana Orr
From around the world and around the web this week:

After a shaky start, the Peace Jirga is underway in Kabul. Reuters provides live blogging.

Meanwhile, postcard images from 1950s Afghanistan take us back to a time when Kabul “had rock 'n' roll, not rockets.”

President Obama’s National Security Strategy: A Commitment to Peacekeeping

By Erin Weir
Saturday May 29th marked the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, a day to recognize the efforts and the sacrifices made by multinational peacekeepers all over the world. The past 15 years have marked both an exponential increase in the number of missions and peacekeepers deployed, and an overwhelming transformation in the very nature of peacekeeping.