Doctors Without Borders Launches Interactive Exhibition on Global Refugee Crisis

“Forced From Home” Begins East Coast Tour at the New York Hall of Science

NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 12, 2016 — The international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) will launch Forced From Home, an interactive, traveling exhibition on the global refugee and migration crisis, this week in New York City.

Forced From Home is designed to deepen the public’s understanding of the desperate plight faced by more than 65 million displaced people worldwide. The exhibition launches at the New York Hall of Science in Queens on September 16 and runs through September 20. From September 23-27, the exhibition will be at Battery Park City Esplanade in Manhattan.

“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.”

Measuring at nearly 10,000 square feet, Forced From Home is an immersive exhibition in which visitors walk through a series of interactive sets featuring materials gathered from refugee camps, rescue missions and emergency medical projects around the world. Visitors will have the opportunity to hear firsthand from MSF aid workers, who have assisted people fleeing wars and extreme violence in countries such as Afghanistan, Burundi, Honduras, Syria and South Sudan.

The exhibition focuses on challenges encountered by refugees, including: causes of displacement; the journey to safety; legal statuses of displaced persons; basic needs and unique medical requirements; and shelter and housing issues.

Visitors will also watch an enveloping, 360-degree video and several virtual reality (VR) documentaries that bring them up close with individuals, families and aid workers in various refugee camps and displacement settings.

“Doctor’s Without Borders’ Forced From Home exhibition is telling the story about where refugees come from. Forced From Home will build awareness of why cities’ role in creating welcoming environments for immigrants and refugees is so important,” said Commissioner Nisha Agarwal of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “This effort is a powerful testament to why our promise to create a welcoming home for refugees is imperative and necessary at this time.”

Related Events

As part of MSF’s effort to highlight and humanize the crisis of global migration, the organization will also host several panel events while the Forced From Home exhibition is in New York. 

On Sept. 13 at the New School, MSF-USA executive director Jason Cone will explain why it is vitally important for MSF to speak out on this issue, while veteran MSF aid workers Africa Stewart and Michelle Mays will share their experiences providing care to displaced populations. Commissioner Nisha Agarwal from the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs will also discuss how the refugee crisis impacts New York City and its work to resettle and welcome new refugees.

On September 21 at Cooper Union, award-winning broadcast journalist Ann Curry will moderate a panel discussion among Cone, Karen AbuZayd, special advisor to the United Nations Summit on Refugees and Migrants and Hans Van de Weerd, U.S. vice president of programs at the International Rescue Committee. Panelists will discuss the various political solutions being offered to the complex issue of global migration, and the many challenges ahead for people who, through no fault of their own, have been forced from home. 

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

East Coast 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.

2015. Kos, Greece. An Afghan family at the pier on the island of Kos. Earlier, they were waiting in vain outside the nearby police station to get the necessary papers which would allow them to leave the island.