Humanising a catastrophe

Today is World Refugee Day. With horrific human catastrophe now a near daily feature of the international news cycle, it can be all too easy to forget that 65.6 million people around the world have been forced from their homes.

At Cannes today, YouTube helped shed new light on the issue. They brought together a panel event featuring YouTubers from two channels that have recently worked with the International Rescue Committee to raise awareness of the ongoing crisis.

The creators from AsapSCIENCE spoke about their experience in a Greek refugee camp, with the message that the more you understand the issue, the more complex and multi-faceted it becomes. They spoke about the role they’ve tried to play in using education to conquer the rising tides of xenophobia. Taking a slightly different slant, YouTube creator and spoken word poet Suli Breaks discussed his experiences of using his art to cross borders and make a difference. He recently used Skype to collaborate on a new poem about the crisis with a refugee. The event culminated in a moving live performance of the piece.

All the speakers helped remind the audience that what can often feel like a distant and faceless problem is a live crisis, affecting people – real people whose stories are seldom told in the mainstream media.


Stuart Williams

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