Refugees International President Eric Schwartz testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee for Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations in a hearing on “A Global Crisis: Refugees, Migrants, and Asylum Seekers.”
Thirty-nine years on, Walter Mondale's inspiring 1979 call to action over the Vietnamese boat people was a watershed moment. Remembering Mondale’s speech in Geneva reminds us of an alternative vision of U.S. humanitarian leadership in the world. It is a vision that honors both U.S. interests and American values, and it offers a brighter future for hundreds of millions around the globe.
Last week, when I was in Minneapolis teaching at the University of Minnesota, I took the four hour drive up I-94 to Madison, Wisconsin for an evening of music benefiting Refugees International. The band The Whiskey Farm performed their song, "You are Welcome Here," which honors America's tradition of welcoming and supporting refugees and displaced people from around the world.
This was a year of new beginnings and the start of an exciting opportunity as I took on the leadership of Refugees International. But as I begin this gratifying new chapter of my own professional life, I am fully aware that for millions of refugees and displaced people around the world, 2017 was a devastating year.
On Tuesday, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres will travel to Washington, D.C. and will meet this week with Members of Congress and administration officials. He will be in Washington in the wake of an extraordinary press conference he held at the United Nations in New York on June 20, in which he urged the Trump administration to stay engaged on global issues. This is an extraordinary plea to the U.S. president from the UN's chief.