International Rescue Committee Brings Together A-List Celebrities and Major Museums to Spotlight the Contributions of Refugees and the Importance of Welcome
In a call for welcome and thank you to refugees, the World Refugee Day campaign features Mandy Patinkin, Keegan-Michael Key, Lena Headey, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Tate and the V&A
Dear Freddie Mercury, A Letter from Lena Headey
New York, NY – June 17, 2019 – Today, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) launched a global campaign calling for welcome and spotlighting the contributions refugees have made and are continuing to make to society. Celebrity voices – Lena Headey, Keegan-Michael Key and Mandy Patinkin – come together in a tribute to the refugees who have shaped our world including, Freddie Mercury, Albert Einstein and Elie Wiesel.
The multi-platform campaign kicks off a major movement by the IRC to highlight the value refugees bring to communities across the globe and includes several activations:
• A video featuring A-list celebrities and everyday individuals thanking famous refugees – Freddie Mercury, Albert Einstein, Elie Wiesel, Gloria Estefan, Marc Chagall, Luka Modrić, M.I.A. and the authors of Curious George – for the contributions they’ve made to our lives and society.
• The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York kicks off the IRC’s World Refugee Day campaign with a press conference on June 17. The Met – the IRC’s inaugural World Refugee Day museum partner this year – will highlight works of art created by refugees and shroud a painting by Marc Chagall from June 17 through the 20th in an effort to show what would be lost without their contributions.
• An activation at Tate’s four galleries across the UK. Tate’s galleries in London, Liverpool and St Ives will mark World Refugee Day by spotlighting works by artists who fled conflict or persecution.
• An open letter calling for welcome and acknowledging the contributions of refugees. The letter is a call to action, asking individuals to stand for a world that always welcomes and supports the rights of refugees, ensuring they can reclaim their futures.
• A display in collaboration with Refugee Week and the V&A highlighting refugee tenacity and entrepreneurship. The display celebrates the work of young entrepreneurs, supported by the IRC and the Citi Foundation, who have fled crisis and are now making their communities stronger by starting their own small businesses.
“When we welcome refugees they shape our world for the better,” said David Miliband, president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee. “Now, more than ever before, we must remember the importance and power of welcome. The voices of Freddie Mercury and Gloria Estefan, the brilliance of Albert Einstein, the artistic vision of Marc Chagall and the footwork of Luka Modrić should inspire us to see refugees as an asset to be nurtured, not a problem to be feared.”
“I’ve worked with the International Rescue Committee for several years and each experience visiting their programming, speaking with those they serve, reaffirms my belief that refugees are the most resilient individuals on earth,” said Lena Headey, multi-award nominee actress and IRC Voice. “Refugees are hopeful, determined and eager to rebuild their lives, and welcoming them is the right thing to do. When we do, refugees not only build better lives for themselves and their families but stronger communities for us all.”
“Today, we live in a world fostering misperceptions about who refugees are and the value they bring to their new communities,” said Mandy Patinkin, Tony and Emmy-award winning actor and IRC Ambassador. “Refugees are entrepreneurs, artists and our neighbors, and when we open our hearts, minds and communities, we tap into immense potential and opportunity. When we welcome refugees, they bring more than their belongings. They bring hard work, potential and contributions.”
“Refugee contributions have moved our society forward and made the world we live in possible,” said Keegan-Michael Key, Emmy and Peabody award winning actor and producer, and IRC Voice. “Let’s support a world that welcomes refugees and builds bridges and opportunity for all. Let’s stand with refugees.”
“The Met collection—which presents 5,000 years of art from across time and every corner of the globe—reveals the indelible impact that refugees have had both on the history of art and on the understanding of creative expression,” said Max Hollein, Director of The Met. “From the artists whose works grace our galleries, to the visitors who walk through our doors, to those who enable the Museum’s mission in any number of ways, The Met is committed to welcoming refugees and celebrating their past and present accomplishments and contributions.”
“Many of the world’s great artists have been refugees, and without them our gallery walls would lack some of the most profound art works ever made. Tate is proud to join with the International Rescue Committee in standing with refugees and celebrating their work,” said Maria Balshaw, Director of Tate.
World Refugee Day, which is June 20, raises awareness of those displaced by conflict and persecution.
To learn more about the IRC and the World Refugee Day campaign, and to view the video and sign the open letter visit www.rescue.org/welcome.
About the International Rescue Committee
The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and 25 offices across the U.S. helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future, and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook. About the Metropolitan Museum of Art The Met presents over 5,000 years of art from around the world for everyone to experience and enjoy. The Museum lives in three iconic sites in New York City—The Met Fifth Avenue, The Met Breuer, and The Met Cloisters. Millions of people also take part in The Met experience online. Since it was founded in 1870, The Met has always aspired to be more than a treasury of rare and beautiful objects. Every day, art comes alive in the Museum’s galleries and through its exhibitions and events, revealing both new ideas and unexpected connections across time and across cultures.
Tate’s mission is to increase the public understanding and enjoyment of British art and international modern and contemporary art. Its four galleries – Tate Britain, Tate Modern, Tate Liverpool and Tate St Ives – welcome around 8 million visitors a year. These are part of a wider network of partner institutions, the Plus Tate network, which champion the visual arts in the UK. Tate also manages a growing national collection of over 70,000 works of art, acquired and cared for on behalf of the public and shown in venues throughout the UK and across the world.
About the V&A
The Victoria and Albert Museum, London (V&A) is the world’s leading museum of art, design and performance with collections unrivalled in their scope and diversity, spanning 5000 years of human creativity. It was established in 1852 to make works of art available to all and to inspire British designers and manufacturers. Today, its purpose is to champion creative industry, inspire the next generation, and spark everyone’s imagination.