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Lest we forget

I will wager that most of us when we think of "refugees " don't picture Europeans as those fleeing their homes and seeking asylum.

I will wager that most of us when we think of ìrefugees î don't picture Europeans as those fleeing their homes and seeking asylum.

But the refugee crisis was so significant following the Second World War that the sixty countries comprising the UN at the time responded with compassion. They struck a temporary initiative called the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), with a three-year mandate to address the European refugee problem and then disband.

Following this, Canada took in Estonian, Hungarian, Dutch, and other European refugees.

Over the decades, the sad continuation of war has escalated the number of people forcibly displaced from their homes around the world.

Responding to this humanitarian need, the UNHCR has become a permanent initiative of the international efforts of the United Nations.

In 2016, the UNHCR serves individuals of all religions in over 123 countries. The faces and the languages refugees speak have changed over the last sixty-six years, but the need for a compassionate response remains the same.

Lest we forget.

Peggy Lynn MacIsaac is a doctoral student at Athabasca University, researching distance education in emergency contexts with a focus on refugees.