SHU organizations host event to raise refugee camp awareness

Amnesty International, STAND and the ONE Campaign are co-sponsoring an event called “Refugee Campus” at 4 p.m. on April 14 on the Green, to raise awareness about refugee camps.

According to STAND member, Kathleen Walsh, Carl Wilkens, the only American to remain in Kigali, Rawanda, once the 1994 genocide began, will be speaking at 8:30 p.m. in the Nursing Amphitheatre.

“We hope that students are empowered by the facts they will learn and realize the power they have to make an impact,” Walsh said.

Besides being the last remaining American in Rwanda during the genocide, Wilkens was the former head of Adventist Development and Relief Agency International in Rwanda, according to his website worldoutsidemyshoes.org.

Walsh, who works on the National STAND Leadership Team as the National Grassroots Outreach Coordinator, has worked with Wilkens in the past through national STAND events and has talked with him since the fall about coming to Seton Hall.

Wilkens will describe the horrors he witnessed in Rwanda and build on his experience to empower students to take part of the growing genocide prevention constituency, according to Walsh.

Refugee Campus has been held by STAND chapters at other universities across the nation, but will be the first large scale, interactive venue to focus on Seton Hall.

Some Refugee Campuses have been country-specific, but Seton Hall’s coordinators chose to broaden the topic and focus on the issues, threats and problems seen and caused by refugee camps, Walsh said.

“The idea is to raise awareness of the crisis and conflicts that create a need for refugee camps, the issues and crisis that individuals face in refugee camps and the impact that refugee camps can have on civilian’s lives, communities, cultures, states and the world,” Walsh said.

Walsh said they hope the event will raise awareness, create a climate of solidarity and empowerment and build upon this climate to continue to advocate for action and a better future.

“We also hope to educate students about Rwanda, genocide, crimes against humanity, current crises that are impacted by crimes against humanity, mass atrocities and genocide and to build a strong anti-genocide constituency on campus that believes in genocide prevention,” Walsh said.

If students or groups are interested in helping to host Refugee Campus, they can email Kathleen Walsh or Patrick Daley.

For more information about guest speaker Carl Wilkens, go to worldoutsidemyshoes.org.

Joanna Toole can be reached at joanna.toole@student.shu.edu.

Author: Staff Writer

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