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11.27 18 Jan 2017


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Attendees at the World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos in Switzerland have been invited to take part in a 60 minute 'refugee simulation' which is trying to bring the migrant crisis to life for the world's corporate and political leaders.

"Participants at Annual Meetings are more familiar with debating the vagaries of the global economy or getting to grips with problems like climate change, gender inequality or food security than they are experiencing the hardships faced on a daily basis by the world’s estimated 65 million displaced people," a blog post about the experience on the WEF website begins.

David McIntyre/Crossroads Foundation Ltd

"The aim of the hour-long session is to help participants understand some of the struggles and choices refugees face each day, with the ultimate aim of enlisting their help in finding lasting solutions," it continues, noting that, "Refugees helped design the installation."

The organisers, the Crossroads Foundation, a Hong Kong-based charity, state that, "The experience is co-developed with refugees, internally displaced persons and aid workers to create as realistic a scenario as possible and to target issues that need addressing by global leaders: ethnic conflict, weak legal infrastructure, corruption, disempowerment and frustration."

David McIntyre/Crossroads Foundation Ltd

It warns that the simulation can be intense - but no harm will be done to those who take part. Staff will be available to assist participants, "at any point during the experience, [if] they feel they cannot manage."

They add that they are "acutely aware" of the challenges (and potential pitfalls) of trying to offer a 'migrant experience' at the economic summit.

David McIntyre/Crossroads Foundation Ltd

"It is always a challenge to portray a global issue in a sensitive way, particularly in a very short time frame.  A simulation can only go so far, of course: somewhat like a live snap shot," the organisers added.

They claim that, "Many corporate and political leaders who have participated have remained involved with global issues long after their simulation experience. These simulations have also birthed NGOs, projects and further engagement in the community, both adult and student."

David McIntyre/Crossroads Foundation Ltd

Ban Ki-moon, Former United Nations Secretary-General has described the simulation as a, "A profound experience that reminds us of the plight of millions of forcibly displaced people."

While Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook said it is "Truly moving and educational."

Facebook, Nestle, and Mastercard are listed amouong the event's premium sponsors for 2017.

Previous 'poverty simulations' were staged in 2015 and 2013.

 

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