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World Refugee Day 2003 countdown

Briefing notes

World Refugee Day 2003 countdown

17 June 2003

Preparations are underway in more than 50 countries worldwide to celebrate World Refugee Day on June 20 (Friday). This year's theme, "Refugee Youth: Building the Future", aims to raise awareness of the challenges young refugees face, and to raise funds to improve their education opportunities.

Among the highlights is a symposium on African refugees held in Tokyo and co-chaired by High Commissioner Ruud Lubbers on June 19-20. In Geneva, UNHCR will host a classical music concert to raise funds for refugee youth in two African camps. In Washington, D.C., UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie and US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage will launch the World Refugee Day celebrations, including a three-day festival featuring refugee cultures from around the world.

Italy and Spain are holding celebrity auctions, with proceeds going to refugee youth programmes. Britain will host Refuge: Dance for Change, a series of club nights in London and Manchester to raise awareness of refugee issues among local youth.

Other events include refugee outreach activities in schools (worldwide), and the launch of a website for refugee youth (Armenia) and a refugee youth bus for public awareness (Sierra Leone). A refugee youth band will be formed to perform in refugee settlements (Uganda), while puppet shows will highlight the issues of child soldiers and the sexual exploitation of children (Tanzania). A giant mural created by a renowned political cartoonist will show the trials and tribulations faced by asylum seekers (Slovenia).