July 18, 2016

“Forced From Home” Will Tour New York, Washington, D.C., Boston, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia

NEW YORK, JULY 18, 2016 The international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) will soon launch a public campaign and interactive exhibit to bring the reality of the global refugee crisis to the American public, the organization announced today.

“Forced From Home,” an immersive, interactive exhibit featuring the latest multimedia technology, is designed to deepen public understanding of the desperate plight of the current 65.3 million people forcibly displaced worldwide, a record number. The educational display will feature materials gathered from refugee camps, rescue missions, and emergency medical projects around the world, along with compelling images and stories of displaced people and refugees. MSF aid workers, who have provided assistance to people fleeing wars and extreme violence in countries such as Honduras, Burundi, Syria, and South Sudan, will guide visitors, providing firsthand accounts from the field. Visitors will also be shown an enveloping, 360-degree video and virtual reality (VR) documentaries that illustrate the experiences of migrants, displaced persons, and refugees forced from their homes across multiple countries and regions.

The exhibit will open in New York on September 16, 2016 and travel to Washington, D.C., Boston, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia this fall. Go to www.forcedfromhome.com for full details.

“This exhibit will confront visitors with the impossible choices millions of people face every day as they run from horrific war, persecution, and economic deprivation,” said Jason Cone, executive director for MSF-USA. “Our objective is to provide some sense of what people experience as they cross treacherous seas, travel through dangerous migratory routes, and arrive at refugee camps.”

Visitors to the exhibit will initially enter a 30-foot diameter dome to view a projected, immersive 360-degree film, which will transport them to Tanzania, Mexico, South Sudan, Iraq, and Lebanon, all countries dealing with migration, displacement, or refugee crises. The exhibit will then lead them through six scenarios focusing on the causes of displacement, the journey to safety, the legal status of displaced persons, basic needs and unique medical requirements among people on the move, and the challenges surrounding shelter and housing. Visitors will also have the opportunity to view several VR documentaries, bringing them up close with individuals, families, and aid workers in various refugee camps and displacement settings.

“People fleeing for their lives are too often reduced to numbers and statistics,” said Cone. “I've talked with people in refugee and internally displaced camps from South Sudan to Lebanon. They are actually not much different than any of us. They are mothers and fathers wanting the best possible future for their children. They are far from passive victims. They are some of the bravest and most resilient individuals on earth that I have ever met. Through this exhibit, we put a human face on those staggering numbers to give the public a real sense of what it looks like, feels like, and what it means, to be forced from home.”

One of the documentaries features an interview with Pedro Gutiérrez*, who fled Honduras with his three children.

“In my country, you can't live,” Gutierrez said. “That's why I escaped with my family, I was tired of so much violence. I was so afraid, afraid for my family, my children.” Gutiérrez was interviewed in southern Mexico, where MSF provides shelter and health care services for migrants from Central America. “The people who manage to leave [Honduras] emigrate to other countries to save their lives,” said Gutiérrez. “It's not that they want to emigrate, but rather that they're forced to.”

MSF is also releasing several 360-degree clips on YouTube, featuring individuals affected by displacement. The videos were filmed on the Greek island of Lesbos, where refugees fleeing conflicts in Syria and Afghanistan searching for safety and security in Europe arrive after dangerous sea journeys; in the Nduta Refugee Camp in Tanzania, where refugees from Burundi—currently in the throes of severe political violence—are seeking safety; and in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, where Syrian refugees live in makeshift tent settlements amidst harsh conditions.

“Along with providing critical medical care, MSF bears witness and speaks out about the suffering endured by its patients,” said Cone. “As the world grapples with unprecedented numbers of displaced people, this exhibit is especially timely, and will hopefully engender greater understanding of the plight of millions of people – people who could easily be ourselves.”

Information 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.

*Patient’s name has been changed. 

Tour dates and cities: 

  • September 16-20: New York Hall of Science in Queens, NY
  • September 23-27: Battery Park City Esplanade in Manhattan, NY
  • October 1-9: Washington Monument in Washington, DC
  • 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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