Refugee Solidarity Concert: We stand #WithRefugees

On the occasion of World Refugee Day 2018, the Cyprus Symphony Orchestra will be performing a concert to honour the strength, courage and resilience of those forced to flee their homes and homelands.

© Cyprus Symphony Orchestra


On the occasion of World Refugee Day 2018 and under the auspices of the UNHCR Office in Cyprus, the Cyprus Symphony Orchestra holds a concert to honour the strength, resilience and courage of refugees around the world. The concert, under the artistic direction of Jens Georg Bachmann and with guitar soloist, George Nouneh, will take place on Wednesday 20 June 2018, 20:30 at the Faneromeni Square, Nicosia. This event will be open and free to the public. Invite friends and share on Facebook.

With more than 65 million people fleeing war and persecution, this is a time that refugees need us more than ever. On World Refugee Day, let’s pause to contemplate the fate of those who cannot return to their homes tonight because of war or persecution. Let’s also ask ourselves what each of us can do to overcome indifference or fear and embrace the idea of inclusion, to welcome refugees to our own communities, and to counter narratives that would seek to exclude and marginalize refugees and other uprooted people. Let’s stand #WithRefugees. See more information about other events taking place in Cyprus on the occasion of World Refugee Day.

UNHCR and the Cyprus Symphony Orchestra are grateful to the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Embassy of Sweden, Embassy of Switzerland, the Nicosia Municipality and the “Friends of Nicosia” Association for their support.


A few words about the programme

Born in Syria but having moved with his family to the US at the age of 13, Kareem Roustom was steeped in the musical traditions of the Near East but also, in the US, trained in western concert music and jazz. He gives us “Dabke” a folk-dance native to the Levant, the name of which is derived from the Arab word meaning “stamping of the feet” and widely performed at weddings and other joyous occasions.

George Nouneh

George Nouneh is a self-taught musician, and a refugee from Syria, who now lives in Pafos.

The Soloist: George Nouneh is a Syrian refugee who now lives in Cyprus. He is a self-taught guitarist, composes and plays his own music although he can’t read or write music. He studied English literature and worked in sales, finance and marketing, yet, music is the great love of his life: “Music has kept me sane throughout some difficult times and a strong will to survive.”

Of all of Beethoven‘s seven symphonies, the Second is arguably the least well-known. Furthermore, filled as it is with the composer’s musical jokes, it shocked the sensibilities of many of his contemporaries.

More specifically we will enjoy the works:

Kareem Roustom: Dabke for string orchestra

George Nouneh: Work for guitar and strings (orch. Y. Hadjiloizou)

L. v. Beethoven: Symphony no. 2 in D major, op. 36

A few words about UNHCR

UNHCR was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1950 to help millions of refugees in the aftermath of World War II. Since then, as refugee problems spread across the globe, UNHCR has assisted in solving refugee problems on every continent, earning two Nobel Peace Prizes in the process – in 1954 and 1981. We work to ensure that everybody has the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another country, having fled persecution or war at home. We help to build better futures for refugees, asylum-seekers, internally displaced and stateless people, many of whom have nobody left to turn to.

In Cyprus, UNHCR opened an office in 1974 at the request of the government and the United Nations Secretary-General to organise and coordinate humanitarian assistance for the displaced populations in both communities. Today, UNHCR’s primary objective is to assist the Government to further develop and improve its asylum legislation, procedures and capacities for a refugee protection system fully in line with international standards. We seek to ensure respect for refugee rights and acceptable standards of treatment of asylum-seekers, particularly as regards access to asylum procedures, reception conditions and freedom of movement. We promote good practices in relation to policies and measures that support the effective integration of refugees into the social, economic and cultural fabric of Cypriot society. We advocate for Cyprus’ accession to the UN Conventions for the prevention of statelessness and the protection of stateless persons.

Every year on June 20, UNHCR and partners commemorate World Refugee Day to pay tribute to their courage and resilience and to promote compassion, openness and diversity.

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