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World Refugee Day 2002: Venezuela

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UNHCR's work with refugees was highlighted in the Venezuelan children's magazine, "Tricolour." Dedicating its June edition to the theme of refugee children, the magazine, with over 250,000 copies in circulation, published the testimonies, stories and photos of refugee children. It also incorporated the themes of discrimination and asylum into its educational games and activities with a special section featuring famous refugees such as Rigoberta Menchu.

The children's exhibition "Looking Towards the Future" was launched with the co-operation of six Catholic elementary schools in Caracas. The photographs, testimonies and drawings of Latin

American refugee children were displayed at the schools from 20 to 31 May. The exhibition was also accompanied by a series of anti-discrimination presentations by UNHCR. The students were introduced to the issues of asylum and xenophobia through a number of interactive games and activities. Following the presentation, the students prepared their own messages of hope and support for refugee children.

Illustrating UNHCR's work and humanitarian effort, the photo exhibit "Looking Towards the Future: a UNHCR Vision" was officially launched at the Central University of Venezuela, on 23 May. The opening ceremony was attended by representatives from national and international NGOs including the Soka Gakkai International, PROVEA and Caritas, as well as representatives of the European Union. For its work on refugee issues, UNHCR received a special recognition from the Department of International Studies, at the Central University in Caracas. The exhibit was also displayed at the Anders Bello Catholic University. Special forums discussing UNHCR's work were scheduled to take place at the University of Simon Bolivar and the Central University of Venezuela by mid-July.

UNHCR also hosted the opening of the photo exhibit "Looking Towards the Future: Refugee Women" on 19 June at the Caracas Metro.

In San Cristóbal, World Refugee Day celebrations were officially opened with the exhibit "Looking Towards the Future: Refugee Women" at the Visual Arts Museum. The programme was opened with a performance by the children's choir "White Voices of Táchira." The event was attended by representatives from the Governor of Táchira, the Armed Forces, the Attorney General's Office, the Colombian Consulate, the Museum, as well as the Foundation for Prevention and Justice, and the Centre for Border Studies at the University of the Andes. The event received good media coverage in the daily newspapers "La Nación", "Los Andes", and "Católica." In addition, the "Diario de Los Andes" ran a full-page story on World Refugee Day on 20 June, and a half-page update of the celebrations on 22 June.

The exhibition "Big, Little Eyes," featuring photographs of the world's refugee children, was inaugurated at the San Carlos Fort, Caracas on 20 June. Representatives from the media, government, universities as well as the international community were invited. The celebrations continued with a concert by the Venezuelan Symphony Orchestra in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The exhibit received full-page coverage in the national press, English and Spanish newspapers.

From 25 June, UNHCR collaborated with the National University of Colombia and a radio station, in the production of a special radio show "Moving, Always Moving." Aired once a week, the 30-minute programme aims at increasing the level of public awareness regarding the issue of forced displacement as a result of Colombia's armed conflict.