Since 2000, World Refugee Day has been celebrated annually on June 20th around the world. This day was chosen by the United Nations General Assembly after adopting resolution 55/76 to generate awareness about protecting and preserving the rights and well-being of refugees. Many refugees seek asylum and safety in other nations and some are forced to resettle and restart their lives. Others remain stateless or do not have the option to return home. It is not uncommon that they become separated from family members and spend their lives searching for them.
Refugees began resettling in Arizona in 1978 as the Indo-Chinese Refugee Program, and took its present form as the Arizona Refugee Resettlement Program (RRP) following passage of The Refugee Act of 1980. Over the last five years, 17,625 refugees have resettled in Arizona, making Arizona one of the nation’s top refugee resettlement destination States. Since 1978, over 60,000 refugees have made Arizona home.
Phoenix has been hosting World Refugee Day since 2008. Many private, governmental, and non-profit organizations in Phoenix offer assistance, protection, emergency responsiveness, and other solutions to aid the significant number of refugees who have resettled in the greater metropolitan area and throughout the state. Each year, several of these organizations come together to host this day to not only create awareness for the refugee community of its services, but also to the general public who is also invited to attend. Additionally, many refugee communities represent their cultural pride and success stories in making their transition into their new lives through cultural performances, art or educational exhibitions, or other hosted events. This year's theme, "Celebrating Many Cultures, One Community", continues this tradition.