September 28, 2016

“Forced From Home” Interactive Exhibit and Tour Opens in Front of the Washington Monument, Experienced Aid Workers Provide First-Hand Accounts of Global Refugee Crisis

WASHINGTON, D.C., SEPTEMBER 28, 2016 — The International medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) will launch its free, interactive exhibit on the global refugee crisis in front of the Washington Monument this week. Thousands of visitors are expected to attend “Forced From Home,” which aims to put a face on the ongoing global refugee crisis by explaining various migration journeys, showcasing the conditions in which refugees live and offering first-hand accounts from aid workers working in MSF migration projects around the world. Forced From Home will be in D.C. October 1-9 before continuing its tour along the East Coast.

Doctors Without Borders, which is committed to bearing witness and speaking out on behalf of its patients, designed this exhibit to bring the refugee crisis closer to home and illustrate life for refugees fleeing places such as Afghanistan, Burundi, Honduras, Syria and South Sudan. With an MSF aid worker as their guide, visitors navigate the immersive, nearly 10,000 square foot exhibition space as a refugee, asylum seeker or internally displaced person (IDP) and explore the reasons people flee, unique medical needs, journeys to safety, legal statuses, and housing issues faced by displaced people around the world.

“Our objective is to provide a sense of what people experience as they cross treacherous seas, travel through dangerous migratory routes and arrive at refugee camps,” said Jason Cone, executive director of MSF-USA. “People fleeing for their lives are too often reduced to numbers and statistics. I've talked with people in refugee and internally displaced persons’ camps from South Sudan to Lebanon. They are far from passive victims. They are mothers and fathers wanting the best possible future for their children. They are some of the bravest and most resilient individuals I have ever met. Through this exhibit, we put a human face on those staggering numbers to show the public what it looks like, feels like and what it means, to be forced from home.”

Upon arrival, visitors walk through a 30-foot-diamater dome to watch an enveloping, 360-degree video that brings them up close with individuals, families and aid workers in refugee camp and displacement settings. At the tour’s conclusion, they have the opportunity to watch one of three original documentaries in virtual reality that take a closer look at patient stories from Iraq, Mexico and Tanzania.

“As residents of the nation’s capital, we are uniquely positioned to set the tone for a national dialogue about the refugee crisis,” said Monica Palacio, Director of the D.C. Office of Human Rights. “Forced From Home humanizes this global issue and offers us a glimpse at what it means to make the impossible choice to leave your home and face an uncertain future, helping us imagine what we would feel if we were confronted by these challenges.” 

Full details for registration, related events and exhibition dates for Forced From Home are available at forcedfromhome.com. Updates regarding the exhibit can also be found by following @ForcedFromHome on Twitter or Instagram.

Upcoming East Coast tour dates and cities: 

  • October 1-9: Washington Monument in Washington, D.C.
  • October 15-23: Long Wharf in Boston, MA
  • October 27-31: Schenley Plaza in Pittsburgh, PA
  • November 5-13: Independence Mall in Philadelphia, PA

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international, independent, medical humanitarian organization that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters, and exclusion from health care. MSF offers assistance to people based on need, irrespective of race, religion, gender, or political affiliation.

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