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World Refugee Day 2004 at Barcelona's Universal Forum of Cultures

World Refugee Day 2004 at Barcelona's Universal Forum of Cultures

20 June 2004

"Refugees" crossing the border in a simulation of refugee situations at the scout camp on Vässarö Island. © UNHCR/G.Jusnes

This year's World Refugee Day activities were closely tied to Barcelona Universal Forum of Cultures. On World Refugee Day, 20 June, Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie helped children from Mozambique and Cataluña to hang up lucky charms for refugees at the Forum's "Sky of Aspirations" installation.

Six-year-old Aysia from Canada wrote, "I have a house to keep me warm, and I pray that refugees will have a place to call home again soon."

Switzerland's Johan, 11, and Julia, 12, added, "We wish refugee children can wake up every day feeling cosy at home, with breakfast cooking, their family around, and their toys."

"Refugee kids should have a great school like ours, with nice teachers and lots of fun things to do like soccer and painting and story-telling," wished Alison, six, and Megan, eight, from the United States.

Julien UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie hanging with the kids at the "Sky of Aspirations" installation at Barcelona's Universal Forum of Cultures.

Previously, the Goodwill Ambassador had joined High Commissioner Lubbers at the closing session of a four-year-long dialogue series titled, "Conflicts: Prevention, Resolution and Reconciliation".

"My perfect world would be one without refugees," Jolie told the panel. "That would mean a world without war, without ethnic and religious hatred, without devouring greed, without persecution. I applaud your efforts to bring the measure of tolerance that could make such a world a reality."

She added, "I have walked away from my encounters with refugees carrying a deep conviction that they all have something to contribute to the world community. I would ask you to ensure that your Dialogue recommendations include concrete measures for finding solutions for refugees, so that they have a chance to rebuild their lives in peace and dignity."

Other World Refugee Day events in Barcelona include a photo exhibition on displaced women in Colombia, and a Greek drama, "The Children of Herakles", that was preceded by a debate on current asylum and immigration issues.

20 June 2004