Syrian Refugee Crisis

Iman Altaani cracks fresh pepper into a pot of sizzling ground beef and onions, surrounded by a group of students. Most have never tasted Syrian food, let alone cooked it. Helping people find commonality is, in large part, why Amanda Warner co-founded the non-profit organization Better Plate. For $30, students get a crash course in another country’s cuisine and a home-cooked meal – not from a trained chef, but from refugees recently resettled in Columbus and adjusting to life in America.

By far the greatest burden of receiving Syria’s refugees has fallen not on the United States or on Europe, but on Syria’s neighbors: Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. Together, these countries are hosting most of the five million Syrians. [...] The Turkish city of Gaziantep sets an example in treating refugees humanely. [...] Refugees are allowed to work and have access to free health care and schools, and the government has repeatedly committed to creating a pathway to Turkish citizenship.

The Goethe-Institut announced at its annual press conference on Monday in Berlin that it would be setting up shop in Baku, Azerbaijan and Yerevan, Armenia, in the coming year. The German parliament has reserved three million euros for the branches, which would host language courses and cultural programming. The organization already runs 159 institutes in 98 countries.

Former British Foreign Secretary David Miliband flew from his home in New York to the Greek city of Mytilene, on the rocky east coast of Lesbos, an island in the Aegean Sea. It was the fall of 2015, and Lesbos had for months been the primary landing point for refugees fleeing wars in Syria and Iraq. Now the steady flow was becoming a deluge—as many as 3,000 refugees a day. Local officials were overwhelmed.

“Another 200 people died in Syria today” blasted from the 11 o’clock news. [...] Luna, 22, a Parsons Fashion Design senior, turned to her father and asked “Should I be doing fashion? We’re sitting around everyday talking about $4,000 Prada pants that don’t even matter in the larger scheme of things.” Since that moment, Luna has designed her senior thesis collection to address the problems facing Syrian refugees as they make their journey aross borders to safety.

Over the last two years, journalistic stories and charitable causes have been translated into VR films to raise awareness. In particular, the United Nations Virtual Reality initiative has been using the medium as an advocacy tool for vulnerable communities across the world. And now with the recent launch of a mobile app that introduces a "take action" button for the viewers to engage with the social issues...

Asylees, like the 85,000 refugees from around the world arriving in the U.S. each year, must be unable or unwilling to return to their country due to persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution. While refugees are resettled from overseas, asylees are already in the U.S. when they present their claims for protection.

World leaders meeting at the United Nations starting on Monday will try to make progress on two intractable problems at the top of the global agenda — the biggest refugee crisis since World War II and the Syrian conflict now in its sixth year, which has claimed over 300,000 lives.