International photography exhibition and panel debate on forced displacement
In Turkey, the world’s largest host country of refugees for a third consecutive year in 2016; UNHCR Country Office in Ankara marked the World Refugee Day by hosting an international photography exhibition, “Exodus Déjà Vu”. The exhibition showcased photos bearing witness across generations and continents to the experiences of those who have been forced to flee their homes due to war, conflict and persecution; leaving everything behind – everything except their hopes and dreams for a safer future. A broad range of audience including counterparts from Government and line ministries, representatives of foreign missions, representatives from national and international non-governmental organizations, UN agencies, members of academia, participated in the event.
The opening speeches of the exhibition were delivered by the Deputy Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey H.E. Ambassador Cihad Erginay; UNHCR Representative in Turkey Ms. Pascale Moreau; Director and Curator of the Exodus Déjà Vu Project Mr. Patrice Vallette and the photojournalist Mr. Coşkun Aral.
A panel debate entitled “Refugee Lives through Different Lenses” followed the opening of the exhibition. The audience got a deeper insight into the experiences of the world’s displaced through photographs and short films that bear witness to individual journeys of displacement. In a bid to get away from the idea of refugees as statistics, the panelists placed the focus of the debate on putting a human face and voice to the staggering figure of 65.6 million forcibly displaced people globally through photographs and short films.
The panel, moderated by UNHCR Turkey Spokesperson Selin Ünal, hosted UNHCR Deputy Representative in Turkey along with photographers and directors. Internationally-renowned photographers from the Exodus Déjà Vu project, Coşkun Aral, Rahman Roslan, Roland Neveu who have covered extensively conflicts and displacement crisis for decades were part of the panel debate, retracing vividly the experiences of those forcibly displaced through their photos and accounts. Two short film directors awarded the 1st and 2nd prize in the short film competition on refugee women held by Turkey’s Sabancı Foundation Short Film Platform were among the panelists.
Field offices of UNHCR Turkey also organised various activities; including refugees and local communities during the week of 20 June.