Building a culture of sanctuary in Refugee Week

Quakers in Britain have announced a packed programme of events to mark Refugee Week (19–25 June), exploring the role of culture in shaping attitudes to newcomers.

Illustration of three women close together
'We all belong here, we will defend each other'. Poster by Micah Bazant

The Quaker Centre Bookshop in London will host internationally acclaimed writers including Coco Khan (The Good Immigrant, 19 June), Hassan Abdulrazzak (A Country of Refuge, 20 June), Gulwali Passarlay (The Lightless Sky, 21 June) and Roma Tearne (Brixton Beach, 22 June).

On 19 June the Library of the Society of Friends will also open its doors to display artefacts from Quaker initiatives to welcome people seeking sanctuary from throughout the last two centuries.

Events around Britain

The London events are in addition to events across the country. These include theatre performances exploring themes of forced migration in Wanstead, Birmingham, Doncaster and Glasgow. And there are discussion events hosted by Lancaster and Nottingham Quaker Meetings.

In the Welsh Borders, Clun Valley Quaker Meeting has teamed up with Wolverhampton City of Sanctuary to host an away-day in Shropshire for 50 refugees and asylum seekers. This act of friendship and community coincides with the Great Get Together Weekend in memory of murdered MP Jo Cox.

'Tender shoots'

The Refugee Week programme follows on from a statement from Meeting for Sufferings, the national Quaker representative body. The statement calls on all people to "fertilise the soil in which the tender shoots of peace, love and unity may flourish".

Refugee Week takes place every year across the world in the week around World Refugee Day (20 June). In the UK, Refugee Week is a nationwide programme of arts, cultural and educational events that celebrate the contribution of refugees to the UK, and encourages a better understanding between communities.

Building on Quaker action across Britain to welcome people seeking sanctuary, Quakers new national project 'Sanctuary Meetings' will launch in August.

Find out more about Refugee Week events