Monday 26 October 2020

World Refugee Year (Switzerland, 1960)

Sixty years ago, over sixty nations joined forces for a year’s worth of action aimed at raising public awareness of refugees and finding solutions to improve the lives of refugees around the world. Whilst many refugees and displaced people were still out in the world as a result of World War II, there were new and differing causes and geographies.

This quote from the UN has some resonance today: “through frequent repetition, the word ‘refugee’ had come to lose much of its poignancy, and there was little personal knowledge of the plight and sufferings of refugees beyond the immediate areas where they were living.”

Stamps played a part in international awareness-raising. There was a simultaneous issue of special stamps by 70 postal authrities, all seeking to tell the story of refugees in their own ways. Some focused on specific local challenges and solutions; others, perhaps like the Swiss here, went for a broader image. This one speaks to me of rootlesnes or putting down roots, the sheltering of the branches of a tree and a sense of life.

I’ve posted a really interesting document below from Nottingham University if you’d like to read more:

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