What the World Gets Wrong about Refugees

Most of us probably harbor preconceived notions about refugees. Maybe it’s a misunderstanding about what drove them from home. Or maybe it’s a lack of understanding about the lives they led before crises upended them. Or possibly, a failure of imagination about the talents and capacities they bring to their new host countries. How do our misconceptions about refugees keep us from fixing our broken refugee system and integrating refugees more fully into our communities? Could it be that one of the worst humanitarian challenges of our time is also replete with opportunities, if only we could see them? Qutaiba Idibl, a Syrian activist forced to flee Damascus after enduring torture at the hands of the Assad regime, is building a new life in the United States. Alexander Betts directs the Refugee Studies Centre at Oxford University. Together, they explore what’s missing in the conversation about refugees around the world.

Festival: 2017

Watch and Listen: World

Often overshadowed by terrorism, nuclear weapons, and cybercrime in the public imagination, pandemics may actually be... See more
Tens of thousands of men and women have left comfortable, privileged lives to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria—... See more
From election meddling to new US sanctions to close calls between fighter planes over the Baltic Sea, the US-Russia... See more
Against a backdrop of rising populism, weakening of traditional political parties, and a rejection of establishment... See more
The 2017 Aspen Ideas Festival closes out with notable speakers and final thoughts. See more
Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, and Rana Foroohar, global business columnist of the... See more

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