Tell us what ‘refugee’ means to you

 © UNHCR/Andreea Campeanu

July 28, 2021, will mark the 70th anniversary of the 1951 Refugee Convention, which alongside its 1967 Protocol, first legally defined the term ‘refugee’ in universal terms and outlined the rights and obligations of refugees, and therefore the legal obligations of States to protect those fleeing the horrors of persecution and offer them an opportunity to rebuild their lives in safety.

To mark seven decades of the Convention, our charity partner UK for UNHCR is asking the nation to help compile a dictionary that will define one word: refugee.

We are encouraging everyone to take part.

The project aims to delve beyond the legal meaning of the word ‘refugee,’ exploring what the concept means to different people and to bring out individual stories and impressions of people who have sought refuge or worked with and supported the forcibly displaced.

The dictionary will be unveiled on 28 July.

A refugee is a human being with hopes and dreams like everyone else. A refugee can be anyone, like a pilot flying your plane – a pilot like me!

Maya Ghazal, Syrian refugee, pilot and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador

A refugee is a boy who had to give up his childhood to provide for his family.

David Morrissey, UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador