Students Gain a Visceral Sense of the Refugee’s Plight

October 10, 2017

The feeling of crawling on hands and knees while crossing the border and being herded like livestock into makeshift corrals gave about 70 Wilmington College students an opportunity feel even a minute semblance of the chaos, confusion, and anxiety experienced by refugees.

PICTURED: Border guard Andy Haag harasses one of the refugees for not understanding the officer’s directives in the detainment area where refugees wait to hear about injured family members.

The exercise was a United Nations refugee awareness game known as Passages, which is designed to create a better understanding of the challenges refugees face as they seek stable living conditions for themselves and their families.

The three-hour event on Collett Mall Tuesday (Oct. 10) morning was part of this year’s Westheimer Peace Symposium under the theme, “Welcoming the Other: An Exploration of Diversity and Inclusion through the Experiences of Refugees.”

Faculty, staff and student leaders facilitated the role-playing game that featured 10 modules representing such obstacles facing refugees as the decision to stay in their war-torn nation with a chronic sense of uncertainty and often danger or to risk traveling to another country that might either welcome them or consider them the enemy.