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Authority in Global Refugee Problems to Share Experiences

Authority in Global Refugee Problems to Share Experiences


April 18, 2012

The College is pleased to announce a public talk by Nancy Polutan on May 3 at 6 p.m. Polutan is a Fellow at the prestigious Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University. She has spent the past decade working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Most recently, she was Regional Integration Officer in Budapest at the UNHCR Regional Representation for Central Europe. She has worked for the UNHCR in Africa, Asia and Europe and has held a variety of positions, from head of office to legal/protection officer where she worked with refugees with both legal and advocacy issues.

Polutan will give an audio-visual account of her personal experiences with the UNHCR. She will also discuss the basic goals and mandates of the UNHCR. This glimpse into her work and its global importance is a rare occurrence for the NEK.

The United Nations General Assembly established the UNHCR in 1950. The agency is mandated to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems. Its primary purpose is to defend the rights and well-being of refugees. It works to ensure that everyone can have the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country.

Over the past 60 years, the agency has helped tens of millions of people restart their lives. Today, a staff of 7,700 people in more than 125 countries continues to help nearly 34 million persons.

Polutan’s research at Harvard focuses on the factors that lead to statelessness and how this negatively affects children, and UNHCR’s position with the relevant governments in addressing this issue.

The talk will be held in the Burke Mountain Room in the Samuel Read Hall Library at Lyndon State College. Polutan’s presentation is free and open to the public.