The Refugee Crisis and What Can Be Done About It

The Refugee Crisis and What Can Be Done About It


– Good evening! And welcome to JFK Forum. My name is Jake Perry and I’m a CES studying history here at Kennedy college. And I’m a member of the
JFK Forum committee, here at the Institute of Politics. Before we begin, please
note the exit doors, which are located both on the park side, and JFK street side of the forum. In the even of an emergency, walk to the exit closest to you, and congregate in the JFK park Please also take a moment now
to silence your cell phones. You can join the conversation online, tonight online, by
tweeting with the hashtag Miliband Forum, which is
also listed in your program. Please take your seats now and join me in welcoming our guests, David Miliband and Nicholas Burns. (clapping) (laughing) – Well good evening
everyone, I’m Nick Burns, professor here at the Kennedy School, it’s a great pleasure
for me to welcome back, I think for the fourth time– – Thank you. – To the Kennedy School,
my very good friend, David Miliband, I think
you know a lot about him, his bio’s in the program, but David is president
and CEO of our largest and most important refugee organization in the United States, the
International Rescue Committee. He has a long history,
one of it’s founders, was one of the most important
people who’s ever arrived on our shores as a
refugee, Albert Einstein. And it’s mission in life, is
to help people around the world who have been driven out of their homes, out of their country,
who have been tortured, and right now David,
there’s 65 million people who are refugees or internally
displaced in the world, that’s the highest number
since the summer of 1945, when the world was blown apart. So that’s David’s big job, in his past, his recent past, David
was Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom of Great
Britain and Northern Ireland. Before that he was Environment Minister, where he worked on climate change. Before that he was Schools Minister. Before that one of the
young people who believed that Tony Blair and new labor
were the future of Britain and he worked with Prime Minister Blair at number 10 Downing Street. So it’s a great pleasure
to welcome David– – And before that, I should say, before that I made a
disastrous career choice, because in 1988, I had the chance to come
to the Kennedy School. – Why didn’t you? – And I won a Kennedy
scholarship to come to Cambridge, Massachusetts,
and there was this choice, would I come to the Kennedy School, or should I got to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology? – Don’t tell me. (laughing) – And I have never
recovered, obviously, from– – That’s true.
– That fateful– – Fateful decision. I had two housemates who were students at the Kennedy School
and defying convention, I went and did a masters
degree at the fantastic MIT down the road, so I feel, every time I come here I
feel I should apologize. – You were a Kennedy Scholar. – I was a Kennedy Scholar, yep, yeah. – Goo, so David lives in New York now, he travels all around the world, we’re fortunate to have him here, he just met with about 50 of my students from my two courses upstairs, we had a great conversation. Let me tell you what we’re gonna do, we’re gonna have a
conversation here with you, for the next 35 to 40 minutes, and then we’ll open it up to questions. You all know where the mics are, I’ll tell you what the rules
and regulations are about them when we get to that period. But we’re gonna try to cover
a couple of big issues. David, question number one will be, just to give you a siting on this, give us a dimension, a sense
of how big this refugee crisis is worldwide and what we
can do about it, number one. Number two, we have to focus on Syria, because of what’s been happening. This week the indiscriminate,
actually not indiscriminate, the very intentional bombing of civilians in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, terrorizing people, killing children, how can we prevent that
from happening in Syria. We also wanna talk about the IRC, your mission, your
capacity around the world, how people in this audience might be able to help in your effort. I wanna talk about your great book that you’ve written
about the refugee crisis and maybe some of your
takeaways from that, and then before we go to
the audience for questions, David, you’ve been Foreign Secretary, you and I just came from the
Munich Security Conference over the weekend, we were there together, let’s talk about some of
the big global crises. And let’s talk about the crisis
inside the United Kingdom, and the crisis inside of the United States of America of populism. But let’s start with refugees, 65 million refugees and
internally displaced. How do you and the rest
of the refugee community begin to try to help those people? – Well, thanks very much
for the introduction, it really is, it’s good to be here, and I was able to say to Nick’s class, it was a true privilege to
be a colleague of Nick Burns when I was in the diplomatic service, when I was Chief Diplomat for the UK, and he was an exemplary public servant. I’m happy to say he was my teacher then, and you’re lucky to have
him as your teacher today. Let me take on your question a bit, because the most striking thing about the refugee crisis I want
to argue you to you tonight is not it’s size. Yes there are 65 million people displaced by conflict or persecution, not economic migrants but
people bombed from their houses. 25 million of them across
borders, so they’re refugees, 40 million of them internally displaced. But the case I want to put to you, is that the real challenge
of the refugee crisis, is not it’s size, it’s its nature. What do I mean by that? Number one, 60% of refugees are
in urban areas not in camps. Defying the traditional prescription of how you look after refugees. Secondly, the duration of displacement. The figures show that once you’ve been a refugee for five years now, the average is 21 years of displacement. Defying again the assumptions, that the job of a refugee
or humanitarian system was to just keep you
alive until you went home. Less than two percent of the worlds refugees went home last year. Number three, half of all displaced people in the world are children. They’re under the age of 18, there’s a demographic time bomb in that refugee population as well. And final point, 86 percent
of the worlds refugees are in poor or low middle income countries not in rich countries. One percent of the worlds
refugees in the US, six percent of the worlds
refugees are in Europe. The top 10 refugee hosting states, accounting for two and a half
percent of global income. So it’s the nature of the refugee crisis that is almost more important
than the sheer scale of it. If there was a turnover of people, 25 million plus 40 million, who were being turfed from their homes and then going back six months later, yes that would be traumatic and tragic. But what we’ve got is a
growing stock of people, for whom there’s very little
chance they’ll ever go home. And that’s what makes the mismatch, between the needs of
refugees and displaced people and the operation of the
international humanitarian system not just large but growing. And that’s the case for reforming the international humanitarian
aid system, not just, as I always say, peddling the
humanitarian bicycle faster. – Right. You said something upstairs
that really got me thinking. You said, when I threw
out the 65 million number, you said it’s linked to
the crisis of diplomacy. What did you mean by that? – The crisis of diplomacy
is that peace keeping, peace making, and peace building, has at best stalled, and
at worst gone into reverse. I live in work in New York as Nick said, where is the all night session of the United Nations Security Council on Yemen? Perhaps the, I hate to see this in a way because we lost a doctor of ours and five patients in a hospital bombed yesterday in Syria– – Right. – But, Yemen in sheer numbers terms, 20 million people, 21 million people, in humanitarian need
is of anything greater. – Cholera, famine, displaced people. – Yeah. And the crisis of diplomacy,
is partly the fact that, the US administration is
not appointing diplomats and key posts, it’s partly that the US
administration wants to cut the diplomatic service by 30% of
my humanitarian aid by 30%. But it’s also that there
is a wider question about the utility, the
effectiveness, of diplomacy. And that seems to be
to be deeply troubling, because the alternative to diplomacy is very, very chilling indeed. It’s essentially might is right, and diplomacy is the triumph
of politics over war. And the absence of diplomacy is the triumph of war over politics. So let’s get to the elephant in the room, before I ask you about Syria
and Yemen specifically, for me the elephant in the room is that the United States has been the refugee leader in many ways for 70 years, we’ve always had our doors open
since the second World War, we’ve always responded at times of immediate humanitarian crisis. I remember as a high
school and college student, we took in EJ Dianna’s here,
he remembers the same thing, we took in several hundred
thousand Vietnamese refugees, after we had fought in
Vietnam for 13 years. – Well because you had
fought in Vietnam, in a way. – But, if you’d been here at the time, the principle argument
against taking refugees, I remember this specifically,
was how can we take them in? We lost 58,000 American troops there, we don’t owe them anything. We had farsighted leaders. So what’s happened to American leadership? – Well that is a, if I
knew the answer to that, I’ve learned in America that when people say that is a great question, that means they don’t know the answer. So that is a great question. (laughing) I mean I think what’s happened is that there was a complacency about America’s willingness to take people
from around the world. There was complacency born of
in part forgetting history, because remember in 1940,
or maybe it was 1941, there was a Washington
Post poll that showed that 62% of the American public did not want any Jews to come from Europe to find sanctuary in the US. – Yeah. – So it’s forgetting history. There was a complacency born
of bipartisan ownership, because welcoming an average
of 90,000 refugees a year to the United States
was a bipartisan policy, it was a Ronald Regan who
increased from I think, 170,000 to 210, to 220,000,
the number of Vietnamese who were allowed to come into the US at the beginning of the 1980’s. And it was also a complacency
that was born of the idea that this was an unchallengeable notion that someone seeking refugee or sanctuary should be able to come here, that the history from
Einstein to Albright, to Serge Brin, to Steve Jobs that– – All refugees. – All refugees. And I wrote about this in my book, that I went to a really
fantastic software company in Silicone Valley about a year ago, which was up in arms
about President Trumps executive orders on
refugees and immigrants. And they were up in arms because suddenly H1B visas were at stake, and
as well as refugee visas. And remember today, there’s a ban on 11 countries coming here, including Iran, so at the same time as your government is cheering on the protestors
on the streets of Tyrone, and other cities, they’re saying if you
seek sanctuary in the US, because you’re being persecuted
by the Iranian government, you’re not allowed to come here. And so I think there was a complacency, and I suppose there’s one other thing which I draw on from my
political experience in the UK, when issues of refugee flow
and issues of migration, of immigration, become confused,
it’s a recipe for trouble. And it’s a recipe that’s neither good for would-be immigrants, nor good for would-be refugees and here, it was very striking to me observing the election campaign
the year before last, how the debate about the,
quote unquote debate, about how 11 million
undocumented immigrants infected the debate about the refugees. – Right. So I’m part of a Friend of the Court Brief arguing against the US government, 35 of us who served in various administrations arguing that in essence, the president is applying
a religious means test. He wants to keep muslims
out of the United States, and in effect, in my words
now, he’s demonized refugees. He’s not just insinuating, he’s saying that refugees are terrorists, we can’t let them into the country, does the data support that? – No, no it doesn’t. – And do you agree with him? I mean how do you respond to that? – He has, he’s said that Syrian refugees are a quote unquote Trojan horse. – That’s right. – And so there’s a very
clear demonization, I think that is the right word to use, he also talked about a
flood of refugees coming, Syrians flooding into the US
without any security checks. If you’re told that, that is frightening. The trouble is it’s not true. Because it’s harder to
get to the US as a refugee then through any other route. You know you did this as a junior– – I interviewed refugees
as a junior officer. – As a junior case officer
in the diplomatic service. 12 to 15 government
agencies, biometric testing, three interviews, 18 to 24 months, it’s very hard to qualify as a refugee and at every stage the burden of proof is on the refugee to prove that they are who they say they are, and that they present no
threat to the country. So it is a demonization, and
it is very, very dangerous, because of course you’ve got
national security officials as well as diplomats saying we need muslim majority countries, we need muslims around the
world to be working with us. Sometimes on peaceful issues
to do with climate change, sometimes on life and death issues to do with intelligence sharing. And if you demonize a religion,
if you abjure a religion, then you risk that kind of cooperation. – Right, let’s talk about Syria. When you came here previously, I remember I was so struck when you said, that in every previous
refugee crisis since 1945, every administration
republican and democrat, the United States had already
responded with a big heart, and we’d taken in lots of refugees. Sometimes half the refugees
that needed to be resettled– – Half of those resettled, yeah. – Resettled. How are we doing on Syria, David? How is the United States
of America doing on Syria? – Well, that’s a bit of a lay up question, I mean– – Yes it is. – Very badly is the answer to that. Just so you get it in perspective, for the last 30 years, about 90,000 refugees have
applied for resettlement and been admitted to
the US under the refugee resettlement program, it’s
been a more or less bipartisan, average to low given the
scale of the refugee crisis, 25 million refugees, but
nonetheless significant. President Trump said he wanted
45,000 to come in this year. – Worldwide? – From around the world to
the US, and of that number, now the forecast that we’ve put out, is that only 21,000
will be allowed to come, so that’s a quartering of the US refugee resettlement numbers. Now the Syrian point is that of course Syria is one of the band countries still. So there’s practically, there’s
a nuggetry number of Syrians have been allowed and
I’ve got in my head 13, I’m not sure if that’s
true, but it’s really, an absolutely tiny number
that have been allowed, and I’ve got in my head it’s gone from 13% with Syrians last year to 13 this year, less
than one percent of those refugees who’ve come in
so far have been Syrian. And the great danger, and I
would say this to all of you who are Americans as you
know, I’m not American, but I watch this as an observer and now as a participant running an NGO. You’ve got a really good program here where we go to the airport
to meet the refugees– – You the IRC. – We the IRC, we meet them at the airport, we get their kids into school, we get the refugees into employment, they pay back their car
loans at a higher average than the American public
pays back it’s car loans, and cars are important in
America I’ve discovered. (laughing) So these are people who know the price of persecution, the price of fear, and when they have the opportunity
to restart their lives, they become patriotic
and productive citizens. – And dependable. – Sorry? – Dependable. – Well, very, because you know, in your first five years, you
know that if you don’t behave, you lose the chance to get
citizenship after five years. So there’s an incredible
incentive for refugees, to become, to seize the opportunity
that they’ve been given. And they know they’ve all got relatives and friends who are not allowed to come, and that produces a burning commitment, often towards their children to be able to have the chances that they never had. – Right. So I believe– – You know, just maybe
let me dramatize this, I was gonna say to you who are Americans, you face the real prospect
of the death of this program. Once you extinguish the
resettlement network of offices and volunteers
and staffing and expertise, it’s very very hard to build it back, after 9/11, President Bush, they closed the Refugee
Resettlement Program for two months. And it took six years to build back the capacity to get it back. So, there’s a real slow
strangulation going on, and I think it’s
dangerous for the country. – Yeah, you’re right. Dave there’s a company
in here by Sarah K Seuss, director of the policy and plans, Sarah’s gonna correct my
numbers if they’re wrong, but I believe that under President Obama, since the Syrian refugee crisis started, the United States took 12,500 Syrian refugees under President Obama, under President Trump, not
more than 15 or 16 people. So David and I were in Munich
at the Security Conference last weekend, I heard from
a fair number of people, we Europeans have taken in
well over a million refugees in the last two years from various points, you Americans are not
helping, what happened to you? – Well the European issue
is a slightly different one, there’ll be lots of Europeans here, because the European issue,
by virtue of geography, I don’t want to sound pedantic about this, it’s an asylum issue rather than a refugee resettlement issue so it’s not the planned
organized transfer of people from the Neckar Valley to Europe, it’s people giving up
hope in the Neckar Valley, getting themselves to Europe, often at the hands of people smugglers, and then applying for asylum in Europe. Now the truth is, there’s
an enormous inequality, between the performance of
different European countries. So Germany has taken the vast
preponderance of refugees. Sweden has taken a significant
number, I think 200,000. Germany six, seven, 800,000. And Germany has coped with that, but it’s had to do it
without the solidarity, the practical solidarity of
other European countries, including the UK, pulling their weight. And that there’s history
in Germany that explains their response as well. But it is extraordinary now, if you go to the smallest German town, there’ll be refugees being resettled. The local government
will be working on it, all of the refugees are out of gymnasium, they’re out of schools now, they’re not being kept in schools, they’ve got their own housing. The big challenge for
Germany now is two fold. One, to integrate those refugees who successfully meet the
criteria for asylum status, which is that they’re
not safe to be sent back, and they need to be taught German, they need to get jobs, they
need to get an education, that’s a big generational task. It’s important not to underestimate
how difficult that is, and the second and very difficult thing, is that for the 400,000 or so in Germany who’ve not qualified for refugee status, because they come, from example, from a country that isn’t war torn, those people need to go home. – Right. – And there are appeal systems, which is right because
they’re individual cases, but I have to take on the chin that if I’m going to defend the refugee, the integrity of the refugee
system and the asylum system, that says if it’s not
safe for you to go home, you should be allowed a place to stay, the common point is well if
it is safe for you to go home, than you shouldn’t say
in the country to which– – And you’re a migrant. – Well, a migrant is, well yeah, I suppose if you fail asylum status, then you’re an economic migrant. Now there’s obviously gray areas, but I think it’s very important to maintain the integrity
of that sacred commitment that was made to the worlds victims of war that if it’s not safe for you to go home, you will get sanctuary in a state that’s signatory to the UN convention. And that is different from someone who’s trying to make for a better life, which is a perfectly
reasonable thing to do, but is different, there’s
a different moral claim. And of course there are gray areas, but the big German challenge
is that two fold thing. To integrate those who
can, who do make it, but also to uphold the principle, that if you don’t qualify,
then you can’t stay. – Emmanuel Macron has just
articulated some new ideas on refugees and migrants, and France has been a receiving country, in fact, France under President Hollande, I remember after the two big
terrorist attacks in Paris, in 2015, they doubled
the number of refugees. – Yeah, and it was doubled
from very low to low, I mean the, I haven’t
got the figures at the– – But we haven’t, they’re
going in the right direction. – Yeah, I mean I think–
– Compared to us. – If I understand it rightly, what President Macron is saying
is, when it comes to asylum, we’ve got to make the system run fast. You can’t take two, three, four years to process an asylum claim, because then all sorts
of roots get established. Essentially in Germany at the moment, with a more or less
800,000 asylum seekers, if you arrive and claim
asylum in Germany now, it takes 10 weeks for
your case to be processed. And they’ve got a really
efficient system running, and Macron’s proposal is similar. There’s also other aspect to do with the handling of appeals. But I mean, the Europe, it’s interesting, the European Parliament has voted, that Europe should take 20%
of the vulnerable population that the UN identifies as being open to claiming refugee status. And it’s clearly massively
politically contentious. There’s no point in pretending otherwise. But Europe has got
countries that are upholding international standards at a time when the US is retreating from them. – Tell us about, David,
the situation in Syria, and what you’re organization
is trying to do, and what are you up against? – I mean, I’m very bitter
about this because you know, one of our staff was killed yesterday or the day before yesterday,
and five of his patients. This is an IRC supported
hospital in Ghouta, in eastern Damascus. And we’ve got, I don’t
wanna go in too much detail, but we’ve got people in
the southwest, around Iran, 300,000 people dependent
on us for their healthcare. And in the northwest in Idlib you’ve got a terrible situation– – There’s a war there, I mean the war is continuing in Idlib. – There’s a war going on, and then in the east of the country, across the Iraqi border and then spreading across the Kurdish enclave,
we’re working as well. We deliver, globally,
water and sanitation, healthcare, primary healthcare, education, protection for women and kids, which is an important part of
the humanitarian enterprise. Livelihood support to help people get, earn a living and support themselves. And we’re trying to do that inside Syria, but we’re doing it in a war zone, where there’s impunity for those who are belligerents in the conflict. And that impunity
extends in Yemen as well. And it is not just the Jihadist groups who behave with impunity. – So the number heres
are really staggering. The pre-war population, say January 2011, just at the start of the
so-called Arab spring, there were 22.4 million Syrians according to the United Nations, and now the estimate is that at least 12 million are homeless, a roughly seven million
internally displaced inside Syria, roughly five million outside Syria, in those big countries,
Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, Jordan. How do you get your arms
around a problem like that? And how do you do it, and who
else are you working with, are you getting enough
support from governments? – No, no, there’s a big gap
between humanitarian need and humanitarian provision
and it’s growing. You get your head round it by stripping out the numbers
and focusing on the people. And if you think about
the dozens of communities up and down the Neckar Valley,
the border with Syria and– – Yeah. – And Lebanon, the typical
community is a village, that is a farming village
that has a few buildings, that has some unfinished
buildings that now has people in the unfinished buildings and in tents. There are probably, the one
that comes to my minds eye from where I last visited,
there may be 20 adults, 25 adults, more women then
men, and then 50 or 75 kids. Now if you think about it like that, you can think well how do
we protect these people, how do you educate them, how
do you give healthcare to them? They’re renting their space from farmers who own the land locally in Syria. Now you can get your
head round that problem, because that is eminently doable. The message that I always try and take out is not give us more money,
at least not at first, the first message is this refugee crisis is manageable not insoluble. Because the biggest challenge
we’ve got is people who say, well look it’s so big,
there’s nothing you can do. Where as actually if you
think about cash for refugees, if you think about education for kids, if you think about employment for adults, those are manageable
public policy propositions, they are not impossible to deliver, and I can give you examples of how that’s being done elsewhere. And the vast burden of the refugee crisis is being born in countries
neighboring conflict, and those are the countries that need massive international support
to enable them to survive. I mean think about Bangladesh, it’s just had 800,000
refugees arrive from Myanmar, in the space of 12 weeks. – Yeah. – And that’s a country
with it’s own challenges, even before the refugees arrived. So those countries need support, but if they get the support we know what the right thing is for them to do. – So you’re, we could talk about Syria, we could talk about Yemen,
you’re a global organization, where is the refugee problem in your judgment most acute now? Is it the Democratic Republic of Congo? Violence flaring there– – Well the Congo–
– Sudan? – Is internal displacement crisis. I mean I think if you,
it’d be wrong to say, Syria is worse than Yemen is worse than, south Sudan, I mean we know
where the hot spots are. The hot spots are in the middle east, I mean it’s just, just
for everyone’s benefit, when people say to me, oh
there’s a real terrible, European refugee crisis, if you say that to an African or someone from the middle east, they’ll laugh at you because
Europe is 550 million people, and there’s a million or a million and a half refugees arrived. Uganda is 40 million people, and they had a million refugees arrive. And the average income
is $962 a head per year. So I think that the, you’d have to say the epicenter of the crisis
is in the middle east, because it’s got the
most explosive potential, but there are forgotten crises
in places like south Sudan, which was a country where you can’t say it’s all the west’s fault. Our policy approach in
south Sudan wasn’t terrible. The Civil War was brought
to an end in 2006, there was a five year cooling
off and negotiating period before the referendum on
independence for the south. South Sudan voted for independence, there wasn’t a massive withdraw of aid, yet within three years the
countries being driven by conflict over resources and power. So there are forgotten
crisis in places like that, and there are places that come into the public consciousness
briefly like Bangladesh, but I worry there that
Bangladesh is being forgotten, and they’ve got 800,000 refugees, and that’s, they need
international support. So you wrote this remarkable
book, which I read, Rescue, Refugees, and the
Political Crisis of Our Time, by David Miliband, and I encourage our
students to read this book, it’s a plane flight. And it has the most
remarkable opening sentence, and I’m no just saying this
’cause David’s a close friend, here’s the opening sentence, and I want to ask you
to tell us about this. “The first refugees I
ever met were my parents”. Tell us about your parents. – So my, I mean of course I
didn’t think of my refugees as, my parents as refugees, you know, I thought of them as my mom and dad. And my dad was a refugee from
Belgium to the UK in 1940. He fled from Belgium with his father, under the mistaken assumption
that his mother and his sister would be okay if they stayed in Brussels. And my dad came to the UK,
he did something remarkable, he signed up at Acton Technical
College in west London, and in a year learned
English, because he wasn’t, he didn’t speak English,
and he qualified for the London School of Economics,
and London School of Economics was in Cambridge at the time, so he spent a year in Cambridge. He then joined the Royal Navy, spent three years in the Navy, then he always told this
great story that the, when he was demobbed in June 1945, which was a month before the
British General Election, the famous General Election
of July the 7th, 1945. In June 1945, my dad was demobbed, and as he left his ship in Port Smith– – Demobilized. – Demobilized, yeah, sorry. Two countries separated
by a common language. – Churchill. (laughing) – As he was demobilized
off his ship in 1945, his commanding officer said to him, goodbye Miliband, don’t vote labor. That was his sort of parting– (laughing) Parting shot. And so anyway, he was
a refugee from Belgium, my mom was a refugee from Poland, she spent the war in Poland. Her life was saved by incredible bravery of some catholic nuns in a convent, and then by a family in Warsaw, and she came as, not as an orphan, she lost her father in the war,
she came to the UK in 1946. And I think it’s kind of interesting that I wasn’t brought up to think
of my parents as refugees. Because my parents did what I
think many refugee families do which is to try to give their children the security that they never had. So my dad, you know, fascism was the background
music to his childhood, for my mother, a bit younger, war was the, not just background music but present reality of her childhood, and I was born in 1965,
and my parents wanted me to have the security, really,
that they didn’t have. But I think, but I always
knew at some level, they weren’t conspicuously different, and they didn’t seek to
be consciously different, but at some level I
knew they were foreign. But I was British, I was born in Britain, and people never thought of me
as being particularly foreign even though I had a slightly foreign name. But I think that it is part of my story that the work I’m doing now
is trying, in a small way, to repay some of the
debt that my family owes to people who helped them. And obviously the people
who we are helping today are generally a different
religion from mine, they’ve got different global politics, but the argument that I tried
to bring through in the book is that the questions are the same, and the fundamental question is, do you, do we owe
anything to people who are different from us but are in need? And especially pointedly or acutely, if you have the capacity to help someone, and you don’t, what does it say about you? – Before we go to questions, there are gonna be a lot of questions about the refugee crisis worldwide. You went into British politics we met when you were Foreign Secretary, you work with two remarkable
American Secretaries of State, Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton, and got on very well with both of them. You observed these huge
changes that we’re witnessing around the world in geopolitics, but you also observed, and both of us did, this remarkable and
unfortunate coincidence that the two strongest
countries, arguably, of the last 300 years have been Britain and the United States, and when we met 12 years ago,
we were still riding high. We were engaged– – I’m not sure we were,
I’m not sure we were, pointing our fists in that way, but yes. (laughing) – We were engaged internationally, we were leading, we were outward looking, we now have a leadership
crisis in Washington DC, with a person who is completely
unfit to hold the office. Taking us back three or four decades, preying on the worst
divisions of our society, that’s how I characterize us. You have Brexit, and after half a century
of being part of the EU, 50% of the people who voted in the June 2016 referendum said leave. How do you explain that
these two great countries are in a form of existential crisis? – Well, I mean how long have we got? I mean this is gonna take
the rest of the evening. Because obviously this is
both important and painful. I think I’d say a couple of things really. First of all the struggle to come to terms with their position in the modern world of both countries is
very, very striking to me. I mean it was said about the UK, famously, so famously, has become boring, that we lost an empire
and hadn’t found a role. And the truth is that our role was clear. It was to be a contributor
to Europe’s global power, and to be a partner of other
powers around the world, through our membership
of the European Union. That was the role. That’s the only role that
the UK could have globally. And obviously the catastrophic
signature or epitaph of my political generation is that we managed to foul that up. And that we lost the
confidence of the public in that European project. That is the only way to give definition and clarity to Britain’s global role. Now your situation is obviously different, your relative economic decline
came later than the UK, but the same existential, I think you used the
word existential crisis, about America’s role in
the world, is now at issue, it’s easy to say America has never been comfortable with it’s role, with a global role, and that’s true. But it’s never before faced,
fundamental questions about whether it should have a global role while it’s been a superpower. So this is the first time since 1945, that significant and now
supremely powerful parts of the American body politic are questioning the whole purpose of America’s position as an anchor of the global system. And I think it’s more
important than people realize, and this is the way I understand it, just in terms of your situation. I was a Kennedy Scholar here, and I had the chance,
well sorry, not here, as we discussed earlier, but
anyway, here in Cambridge. – Just forgive him. – And one of the things I
did was I went back in 2013, to give a lecture on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of JFK. And I went back and read
some of what he’d written before he became president. And there’s a really important article, I really commend this to you. There’s an article in Foreign
Affairs in January 1957, so it was as Eisenhower
was being inaugurated. In January 1957. And Kennedy reported on his visit to 12 countries around the world, Indonesia, Israel, Singapore,
I think he went to, and all around the world, and he said there are two great phenomena that will define the modern world. One is decolonization, independence. And the other is interdependence. And it’s the first time he used the phrase deceleration of interdependence, which became a big
theme of his presidency. – Yeah. – Now the important point about that is if you believe the
world is interdependent, you’re immediately into a
world of positive sum games. Suddenly cooperation
is not a zero sum game, it’s a positive sum game. If I help you, if I
share something with you, we can both be better off, not just better off materially,
but we can share power. That is what is now being challenged in the name of an assault on globalists, globalism, and globalization. So it couldn’t be more
important, I would say. Now, didn’t mean to give a long,
too long an answer on this. The question it seems
to me, whether or not, that is a final epitaph of this period of post-second World War
liberal internationalism, or whether it’s a bump in the road. I think it’s much easier to argue that your situation is less terminal in respect to this international
engagement than ours, because you are on a four
year or eight year cycle. – We can have a restoration
of American purpose. – Yeah I think the capacity for
renewal of the United States is one of it’s most extraordinary
features, it really is. You know, those of us
who see strength in it but also weaknesses, the
one undoubted strength is it’s capacity for renewal. I thought, that the renewal
that came after 2008 would have been more enduring, but the renewal was followed by a reverse and then some people would say it was the renewal that
caused the reverse. Some political scientists would argue. The Brexit situation is
gonna be very hard to reverse in the short term if it
goes through as planned. But the fate of geography means that Britain is always gonna
be a European country. And it’s always gonna be, in my book, absurd that we are separated from the coalition of European countries. That can only be remedied either by the break up of the European Union which I need I neither
support nor envisage, or by Britain having to go
through a period of purgatory before it thinks or
rethinks it’s position. But I don’t say, I’m not
in the least bit glib about the speed in
which that might happen. I’ve said before that one of
the things that I’ve learned about Britain and America is that in New York, if you order
a meal in a restaurant, and you really don’t
like it when it arrives, you send it back, where as
in the British character, if you go to a British
restaurant and you order a meal, and you really don’t like it, you eat from the edges inwards. (laughing) And that is what I feel we are doing– – Are you saying you’re
more polite than we are? – That is what, well it’s
not about politeness, you could say it’s about standards, that is what we are doing with Brexit. We are slowly nibbling at the edges of this deeply unappetizing meal. And almost the more
unappetizing it becomes, the more it is essential
to the British character that you hold a stiff upper lip and you eat the very unappetizing meal. So that, I’m afraid, is not a short term, you can’t say a short
term reversal is likely. – So, we’re gonna go to questions, I have to ask a last question, but prepare your questions,
this is very quick. I interviewed our mutual friend, Condoleezza Rice at a forum
like this last summer, and I asked her what had
happened to the US, the UK, global crises, and I expected to get a political science answer. And she said, we’ve lost
our self-confidence. The American people and
the American leadership have lost their self-confidence in our, in that global role that you talk about. Is it a question of regaining
strategic orientation, but also just is she right? Is it self-confidence about who we are? – Well I think that in
many ways that is correct, the question’s why have
they lost self-confidence. And there are two different
ways of saying it. One is that we’ve made big
mistakes that have cost us dear. Big mistakes in the financial crisis, big mistakes in Iraq, pretty
big mistakes in Afghanistan. And that has led us into a form of imprisonment about our own capacities. I think the second thing
though is economics. And that the political
economy that’s underpinning the global roles of the US and the UK, in different ways, is shot at the moment. Because the political
economy is not distributing the rewards of growth in a
way that is sufficiently fair and sufficiently equitable to maintain the stability of the system. And that is I think what’s undercutting, it’s the instability, and the inequality, and the insecurity of globalization that is undermining the attempt to have a fairer form of globalization. And the tragedy from my
point of view is that rather than seeking to
reform the global system, in both countries
there’s withdraw from it. – Thank you David, thank you very much, we’re gonna go to questions, we’ll try to get as many in as we can. (clapping) Thank you. So I’m just gonna move counter-clockwise among the four mics. The only thing I’d ask is please, just identify yourself
if you’re a student, what you’re studying, where you’re from, and make sure that at the end, there’s a question mark
attached, thank you. – Alright, my name is Garrett Walker, I’m a freshman at the college. And my question pertains
to the sphere standards, which are, I’m sure as you know, the sort of definitive
way that you measure response to global crises and yet, often times we see in slums, those minimal standards aren’t being met, and often times, in fact, the status quo is just
worse than in a disaster. And in places where, you know, there are nearly 10 times as
many slum dwellers as refugees, I guess my question is
how you would support the aid towards refugee over slums, and how you balance those two forms of it. – Why don’t you do four and then– – You wanna do four? – Yeah. – Okay, we’ll go this way, thank you. – Hi, thank you for joining us, I’m David, I’m a junior in the college, and I’m studying electrical engineering. My question was I know in the 1970’s, her majesty’s government and
the United States together evicted thousands of
people from what is now the British Indian Ocean Territory in order to create what
is now Diego Garcia, a military base that is
technically owned by the UK, but operated by American forces. And this issue, to the
best of my knowledge doesn’t get much attention,
not as much as say, the refugees coming from north Africa, or other parts of the middle east. Do you think that there is,
that difference as an exposure cause a double standard
in how different refugees are perceived and how they’re treated? – Thank you very much, great question. – Yeah, thanks. – Yes, please. – [Sasha] Hi, my name’s,
sorry that’s a bit loud. – It’s good. – I’m Sasha Lipton-Galbrith, I’m at the Harvard Divinity School and the tough sepulture school. My research has to do
with the degree to which, international humanitarian organizations use religious literature’s both in their analysis of conflict dimensions and the needs of the
communities they serve, and also how much the engage with religious community and
religious actors on the ground. I’d love to hear what the IRC thinks about incorporating religious
literacy into their work. – Thank you, interesting question. Yes, please. – Jay Gleeson. The IRC does a lot of work in
the ongoing disaster in Iraq, so I can’t help but wonder if you regret voting in favor of the Iraq war in the UK parliament in 2003, whether you think your kinda repaying your own debt in that work? – Well why don’t I take
that question first, because I very much do regret it, and I’ve talked and written
extensively about it, and cover it very clearly in the book. It was obviously, in retrospect, a very serious mistake, and
it was a mistake because there were no weapons of
mass distraction there. I don’t believe it was a lie,
I think it was a mistake. And at the time I was Minister
for Schools at the time, and it was not just a mistake that had short term consequence,
it has long term consequences. And when I go to Iraq,
I do think about that. And there are lessons of history, but it’s also important to
learn the right lessons, and not be imprisoned by history. And the tragedy as far as I can see is that the conflict in Iraq continues to invoke suffering on the Iraqi people, but the conflict in Iraq has also had consequences for the
suffering of the Syrian people, and it’s important that we
don’t learn the wrong lessons from the past as well as
learning the right lessons, but you’re perfectly, it’s
perfectly legitimate for you to ask me about it and I deal with
it extensively in the book. Just to go back through the other three, funny enough I have been
asked about Iraq before, but I’ve never been asked about
the three other questions, so they’re really, I’m
happy to get into them. Sphere standards are the
basic minimal standards that are set in humanitarian emergencies, for example it’s 15 liters of water, that is the basic minimum
that should be available. There are two main problems
with the sphere standards. One is that there’s no recompense, there’s no penalty if
they’re not enforced, and secondly they don’t
cover things like education, that are so important to the outcomes that people are gonna achieve. And I suppose there’s a third problem, which you referred to, which is what about
the situation of people who are outside a refugee camp, and if you go to the worlds
largest refugee camp Dadaab, the mortality rate outside
is higher than inside. And one of the things that we do, is that all of our services are not just available to refugees, they’re available to displaced people and they’re available
to the host population. So if you go to our health center in norther Jordan in Mafraq, yes it’s a health center that’s
primarily used by Syrians, but its available to Jordanians as well. And that’s one way of
trying to make a difference. Just on David’s question,
it was actually the 1960’s, the Wilson government, very wrongly just
evicted a group of people from what became Diego Garcia. It’s not, it’s a time
limited British sovereignty. What I did when I was Secretary of State, was made sure that it was
a Marine protected area for the whole of that period,
and that remains the case, it’s due to revert to maharishis, after the Americans have used it, Harold Wilson was roundly condemned for what he did at the time,
for understandable reasons. Just on Sasha’s question,
two ways of answering it, one we should put you into
our context analysis unit, because everywhere we go,
in every country program, we do a context analysis
and I’d love to believe that we could make good use of what you describe as religious literacy, but certainly we try and make use of our local staffs
insights to what’s going on, as we try and plan our own provision. One thing though that
I can tell you about, do we use religious leaders,
here’s an unusual story. So I was in Ethiopia two weeks ago, both in the east, where there
are mainly Somali refugees and in the west where there are Congolese and south Sudanese refugees. And I was introduced to a man
who’s a local religious leader and he is our lead partner
on family planning. And in the local community,
as a result of the work that we’re doing with
him and his community, family planning is now used by 60% of families in that community. So the answer to do we work
with religious leaders, the answer is yes, but not
always in the most obvious ways. – Yeah, good. Let’s do another round of
questions starting here. – Good evening, I am Dr. Hajazad, I am from (speaking in foreign language) I am a full bred scholar here at Harvard. I did my PhD during the time
you were the Foreign Secretary for the UK, one thing is
not mentioned in your bio, is that you were also one
of the potential candidates for the highest position in
the highest representative. The most advanced model
of regional integration, apparently 52% of Brits
did not appreciate. My question is, you were
also one of the signatures. You personally signed the
Prague declaration in 2009, for eastern partnership. How would you characterize the
you support to it’s neighbors to the east with regard to
what you received from the US? That basically is there a link, is there a moral obligation
between the fact that European Union itself
was supported by the US and it is sort of time to
also help it’s own neighbors. Is it only for the fact that you need to create a ring of stable states, or it is also has the
dimension I mentioned before? Thank you. – Thank you very much, yes sir. – Thank you for joining us
tonight, my name is Jason Gabay, I’m an undergraduate junior. We’ve heard of Russian
operations on Facebook, and Twitter’s suppression
of anti-democratic hashtags during DNC elections. What do you believe is the responsibility of big tech leaders and CEO’s with regards to democratic processes? – Thank you very much,
good questions, yes sir. – Hi my name’s Evny, I’m from the UK, I’m a sophomore at the college right now. I would say it’s a small world, because you actually opened
my school back in 2007. (laughing) Greenford, if you remember
Greenford High School. – [David] Yes I do. – Awesome, great. – My friend Peter Hyma was
a teacher there at the time. – Yeah yeah he was, yeah he’s since left to make his own school. (laughing) Anyway, so my question is– – [David] I hope you got
a good schooling there. – Sorry? – Oh yeah, yeah.
– Did you get a – I’m going to Harvard.
– Good education there? – So it’s great. (laughing) Thank you. So my question is, so
with this whole like, chaos happening around Brexit, what do you think about
people bringing up the topic that a second referendum should be held. Like what does that say about democracy? Also one thing to add, I
really do appreciate your work, as an Afghan refugee
myself and adult citizen. – Thank you very much, and can I just add to the gentleman’s question, what probability is it that Britain could actually avoid Brexit, I mean, when you answer this take
us through a scenario, give us some hope. (laughing) Last question here, yes. – My name is Charla Lemo,
and I’m a student here at International Relation,
and thank you Harvard, for this wonderful opportunity,
and thank you so much, so Mr. Miliband, thank you for being here. – [David] Thank you. – IRC is a wonderful organization, it has saved some of my family members, who are still under
the care of you at HCR, you guys are doing good job. It’s interesting that you mentioned that you’ve been to Ethiopia
last, two weeks ago. – [David] Yeah. – I am an Oromo the indigenous
people of Oromo land, the country currently called Ethiopia. If you deny there is
no genocide happening, it would be only you if you say that. Because Ban Ki-moon, sitting right there, he admit it, Senator Durbin admit it, a lot of leaders have admit it, so do you believe that there
is a genocide taking place in that country, again
it’s the Oromo nation, which I lost two uncles of mine and other entire family members, and this government is supported by UK, and the United States, and
they are still providing material and military support? And this genocide is still active? I know you are aware two weeks ago, the puppet prime minister
from the minority TEGRA ethnic group
resigned from the power, it’s because after 5.6
million were killed. So– – [Nick] Okay. – Have you ever heard,
you just mentioned, sorry, you just mentioned there
are Somali displaced, it wasn’t Somali, they lied
to you, they are Oromo’s. They always misplace a member
and the name of the people. So do you know what is happening? And by the way, the Oromo
refugees who are over 12 million in Kenya and also the middle
eastern IRC is doing good job, so do you know that they are an Oromo, and I just wanna make sure you
answer this question clearly. – Thank you very much.
– Okay. – Let me answer it straight away, which is that I was talking
about the eastern part of the country where
there are Somali refugees, if you come a bit further west, there are a million internally displaced as a result of precisely the conflict that you are talking about. And although I didn’t visit
that part of the country on that visit, I am very much aware of it, and providing services for
those internally displaced, even thought they don’t count as refugees ’cause they haven’t crossed the border, they’re still internally displaced as a result of conflict or persecution. So you’re absolutely right to raise it. And we don’t get involved in the politics, I’m not gonna start saying allegations about one prime minister or another, I’m running a humanitarian organization, that has to hold fast to
principles of neutrality, of independence, of impartiality, because once we cross that boundary, we end up compromising the security and the position of our own staff in all of the place that we work. But I am very much aware
of the challenge there. And so is the UN authorities,
and so are the sister NGO’s. One of the things that
I’ve learned in this job is that however much NGO’s are competing at international level for
government and other contracts, locally there’s actually
very good coordination to try to make sure that we stretch our resources as far as possible. Just to start to go back to your– – [Charla] How about the UK citizen? – Thank you.
– Just let me finish– – He answered your question.
– The other questions. – [Nick] Thank you very much. – On the eastern
partnership, I’ll tell you, I think that we’ve really struggled in the European Union to
find the right balance. For those countries
that had the perspective of joining Europe, Croatia
being the most obvious example, but even for some of the other
former Yugoslavian states, it’s provided a degree of
stability and vision for them, even if it’s a very long
way off, they will come. To be honest, if you think
about the situation in Ukraine, it’s been overwhelmed by forces that are much bigger than
Europe has to provide. I mean, the Ukraine in Georgia, which is what we dealt with in 2008, that goes beyond the instruments that the European Union has available
for that kind of partnership. I tell you what I worry about now is an east west split within Europe, because the partnership
that exists with Hungary, Poland, to some extent Czech Republic, that is under threat, and
they’re members of the European– – [Nick] And on the refugee
issue, very much so. – Yeah, I mean what’s
gonna happen on that, I mean Hungary and to some
extent Czech Republic, is saying they don’t
want to have any refugees come as part of the relocation scheme. Obviously the refugees land
first in Italy and Greece, if they’re not willing
to save the refugees, then they should pay something
towards the common wheel. Let me just run quickly
through the other two. The responsibility of the tech companies. Number one, a responsibility to understand what’s going on in real time,
not a year and a half later. Secondly, clarity about whether or not they’re publishers or not. So their role in that respect and what obligations are under. And third, I think that
I was very struck by the determination of the German government. They were threatened
with quite mass Russian cyber warfare interrupt their election, and the head of their FBI
made an unprecedented speech, warning his fellow citizens
about what was coming, and how to identify the different trolling and other exercise, and I think the transparency
was a good lesson there. Just on the UK situation, look it’s, the high likelihood is that we’ll leave. But it’s not an accident that 20 months after the referendum the
government haven’t been able to, unless someone can tell me what happened at the meeting today, I came in here, so I
don’t know whether they, but until five o’clock this afternoon, there was no indication
that the government had come up with a approach
to tell us what Brexit meant. And the reason is is that it means incompatible things, contradictory things, to different members of the government. It’s not an accident that the Irish issue is now so polarizing with
some Brexit-teers saying they want to abandon the
Good Friday agreement. The scenario that I hope for, is that when Parliament gets it’s chance to debate the quote unquote deal that is going to be agreed
over the next period, that Parliament recognizes
that ultimately, the people deserve a chance to vote, on whether or not the deal
that has been negotiated, is one they prefer over the current terms of membership of the European Union. And I don’t call that a second referendum, because the first referendum
was not a comparison of the status quo versus
a deal for the future, it was a comparison
between a known status quo and an unknown future. And this isn’t a matter
of just complaining about the rules of the
game after you’ve lost, it’s a matter of trying to
take seriously the stakes. Because I think that the European question goes way beyond normal
matters of party politics, it’s bigger than a single election, because it defines the parameters, within which subsequent
governments are going to operate. Having said that, there has been a vote, and the likelihood is
that it will flow through. – So we have a dilemma. We’re supposed to end by seven, by David’s been so
economical in his responses, and the questions are so interesting. – So long is what he means. – What we would say in America, we’re gonna go into extra innings, which you’d say extra time for football. I think we can do two
or three more questions, let’s start right here, and we’ll go quickly around the room. – My name is, my name is Ziad Ruslin, I’m Lebanese Syrian, and a student here. It’s fair to say that the last hour has been thoroughly depressing. (laughing) But you said, as a hopeful sign, that this could be an aberration, that the Anglo-American
retreat from international leadership could be an
aberration in our history, and the demonization of immigrants. I’m wondering, in your work, what hopeful signs are you seeing, for the love of God, that– (laughing) That could show that this is an aberration and not the
way the world’s moving. – Thank you Ziad, we need hope. Your question, yes. – [Nadia] Mr. Miliband, thank
you for being here tonight. – Thank you. – My name is Nadia, I’m a
student here at Kennedy School, sir, you eluded to there being a need for reform of the international
humanitarian system, a response system, as a
long term UN staff member, I tend to agree with you,
but I would love to hear how you envision it, thank you. – Thank you very much, yes. – Hi, my name’s Ella, I’m a student, a first year
student at the business school, I’m half Egyptian, half Syranese, and my family’s actually resettled in the United States by the IRC. – [David] Amazing. So I would love to hear your perspective, on what you think the role of the private sector is in the refugee crisis. – Thank you.
– Great. – And final, final question. – Thank you, I’m Gabriel, and I’m a high school student in Capio. Similar to the previous question, what about, what are
the role of corporations in refugee crisis such as
Microsoft’s ID2020 initiative? – Thank you very much. – Great. Let me end on the hope, so rather, let me go through the other ones. First, to Nadia, your question. I am a great believer now that organizational reform
is the wrong way to go. That the diverse parts of
the humanitarian sector are only going to work as a proper system, when there are clear
outcomes that are established for what we mean by humanitarian success. At the moment, survival
is the only test we have. And my point to you tonight has been, it’s not enough to help refugees and displaced people survive,
we’ve got to help them thrive. So number one are outcomes, number two, we’ve got to take seriously
a what works philosophy. What’s the evidence about the
programs that really work? We need to move away from every NGO inventing it’s own programs, to having some best practice that becomes the defining standards. Thirdly, we’ve got to have a massive drive to have a proper R and D,
research and development capacity in the humanitarian sector. It’s a 26 billion dollar
sector of the global economy, and it doesn’t have a
proper R and D budget. We are using our own field presence, we’ve got 17,000 staff around the world and 196 field sites to run
our own R and D testing, but we’ve got to tackle the
really difficult problems. Why should intimate partner violence go up three or four fold
against women and girls, in emergency settings? We gotta tackle issues like that. We’ve got to tackle the
trauma that kids face. One in, are malnutritioned, one in 10 malnourished kids get help. That means the equivalent
of 90% of the planes landing at Logan airport
are not landing properly. So we need to really have critique and to some extent frustration built into a drive to try and change things. That links to not just the private sector but corporate but others
outside the humanitarian sector. One of the things that we’re
doing is linking people with passion for making change, to our presence in the field,
to try and drive innovation. And I think that the corporate sector has a big role in that. I always say to corporate
partners of ours, one do your day job, so hire refugees, we just launched a really exciting program with Intel in Germany
to hire 1,000 refugees, Starbucks has said it’s
gonna hire 10,000 refugees, I said to your class, there’s
no better job training program than to be a refugee. And if you want people
who are entrepreneurial, who are incredibly brave, who are willing to go through the fire to get a chance to live, you’re gonna find some
extraordinary people there. So one, corporations
need to do the day jobs. Secondly, they need to lend
us the skills they’ve got. Not just pro bono, legal
advice, but everything from strategy, to marketing, to legal, we need them in the
humanitarian sector helping us. Thirdly and most difficult,
they need to use their voice. The modern business leader is seems to me, isn’t just good at the bottom line, he’s also thinking about, he or she, is also thinking about what’s
the wider responsibility? Because this idea of
stake holder capitalism isn’t just about substituting
one set of bottom lines for another it’s about
recognizing you have a responsibility to society,
and that you can only thrive if you’re part of society
not separate from it. And I think that there are some distinguished business leaders who have been willing to use their
voice on the refugee issue, you just saw that at the time of the President Trumps executive
orders last year, and we need more of that. And that sort of answers your question too about what can the private sector do. I also would say to you, we don’t do refugee
resettlement in Boston, it’s run by some of the
other resettlement agencies, but you can all volunteer at
your local resettlement office. Some of you probably are. You can make a difference yourselves if you’re in any of the
26 cities where the IRC is resettling refugees you can be the buddy, the mentor, the support, the
English language teacher, for someone who needs help in integrating into American society. And that leads to me where’s the hope. I always quote this film
crew that went to Congo, and they said if you look
at the statistics you become depressed but if you talk to
the people you are hopeful. And that’s really where I would end. For every fearful
American who is concerned that a refugee moving into
their state is dangerous, there’s someone else
who’s saying, hang on, my workmate is a refugee,
my family was a refugee, my neighbor is a refugee,
actually I’m gonna knock on the door nextdoor and extend the
hand of friendship to them, and we see that wherever we go. Secondly, I would say to you, that I told the story
upstairs of this fantastic, we do a lot of primary education. And the frustration is, well what happens when
kids get to secondary. And then we do a little bit of secondary, and then what happens when
they get, they qualify, and they’ve been through hell and they’ve qualified for
university, but they can’t go? And just when I was in Ethiopia, the Country Director there said that the Canadian government had offered 15 places for scholarships
for Ethiopian refugee or refugees in Ethiopia who were then able to go to Canada and get resettled. And then the final point I think, is not to tell you about Lebanon, because you know more
about Lebanon than I do, but Lebanon is a country
of four and a half, five million people. And in 2012, a million
point five refugees arrived. And the real stories of hope, are that countries that have
far fewer resources than we do are standing up for the
most precious human values, in a profoundly deep and important way. And the most sobering, the most inspiring, stories of the refugee crisis, are not from those who
have a lot and give a lot, it’s from those who have
a little and give a lot. And that is what I see in all of the work that we do around the world. And there’s a great danger
if you’re running an NGO that two anecdotes become data. But, the opposite danger is the one that you face in government, which is that everything
looks like a statistic, and no one looks like a human being. And part of our challenge I think, is to re-humanize this group of people who have been displaced by conflict and explain to the rest of the world that these are people with
stories, and it could be them, and they should thank their
lucky stars it’s not them, but they should do more,
they should actually give a chance to these people to
make something of themselves. – Can I thank you David
for ending on hope, but also challenging
us, thank you very much. – Pleasure, thank you. – [Nick] Thank you all! (clapping) – [David] Thanks. – [Nick] It was well done. (crowd talking in background)

2 thoughts on “The Refugee Crisis and What Can Be Done About It

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *