“People like us often feel the world forgets us,” says David Livingstone Okello, a former child soldier from Uganda.

“They make policy decisions at their level, not ours. They don’t know what life is like on the ground.” When David comes to the World Economic Forum, his heart’s cry is to show world leaders and policy makers that their decisions affect real lives, populations living with the consequences.

David has been joining our refugee simulation at Davos for several years, and his story, recounted after the simulation, is gut-wrenching. He tells how he was abducted by rebel soldiers at 15, saw one classmate shot to death in front of him and others forced to kill family members. Those listening, having just been through the simulation of a conflict zone, find his words run deep. They are then invited to consider ways to use their capital power and influence, knowing they have the mandate to make a difference.

 

2018 marked the 10th year that Crossroads has been privileged to bring our simulations to WEF participants.

“It is the right way to start the Forum meeting. Putting harsh realities at the centre.”

– Igor Perisic, Chief Data Officer & VP of Engineering, LinkedIn Corporation

 

“It’ll change your perspective in ways no news report can.”

– Simon Shuster, Time Magazine.

 

“This is the closest you can get to empathising with an unthinkable experience that is an everyday reality for so many.”

– Tiffany Yu, Founder, Diversability

 

“This gives you a small but significant glimpse into the human side, the personal side, of refugee issues. You can never think of the issue in detached numbers and policies ever again.”

– Fulvia Montresor, World Economic Forum


WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM 2018 SPONSORS

We again brought our refugee simulation to world leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this January. This would have been impossible without the generous financial support of our partners, who sponsored the simulation in 2018.

Premium Sponsors

Cathay Pacific

Facebook

Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Nestle

UPS

Sponsors

J.P Morgan

Linklaters

Microsoft

UBS

UNHCR, The UN Refugee Agency

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In groups of 40, they left behind their identities as multinational CEOs, political leaders and businessmen, and took on the identities as a group of scared, disoriented refugees.

In January this year, Crossroads brought our Refugee Run to the World Economic Forum, where since 2009 we have been helping WEF delegates engage with poverty issues.  “A Day in the Life of a Refugee” saw more than 550 participants step into the shoes of refugees for just an hour. They listened to former refugees and humanitarian workers from the field share first-hand perspectives. They were then invited during the debrief to consider how they could each use who they are, their resources, their influence and core strengths, to make a difference to the refugee situation and the root problems that cause people to flee.

“Big discussions take place at 35,000 feet in Davos,” said one former WEF staffer. “The Refugee Run brings people back down to earth.” It was a privilege to work once again with the WEF in helping many of the world’s influential people find a new perspective on issues which are now more relevant than ever.

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“I am alive, but I’ll never be the same again.” WEF staff member

“This reminds us why it matters.”Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR

“It was humbling and grounding, especially in the context of Davos.” President of foods, Unilever

“This will change your entire perspective of those whose images you have only seen in the media.” Al Jazeera reporter

Watch CNN’s coverage of A Day in the Life of a Refugee here:

http://money.cnn.com/video/news/2016/02/01/davos-refugee-simulation-experience-crossroads-foundation.cnnmoney/index.html

See the full collection of photos on Flickr here:

A soldier checks refugee ID papers of Serena Caduff at the border, in A Day in the Life of a Refugee.

 

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A sampling of the comments by participants following the Refugee Run at the World Economic Forum, Davos 2014.

“I was skeptical but this simulation has been too powerful. Overwhelming. A call to action.” Marina Ruta, Davos resident

“A transformational #refugeerun experience today at #wef14 … A powerful way to seal our personal commitment to improving the world” via Twitter, Xavier Mesnard, Partner & Global Leader, Strategic Operations Practice, A.T. Kearney SAS France

Refugee_run

“A degree in peace and conflict studies never challenged me in such a visceral way as this.”  Martin Bekker, Head, Strategy, Royal Bafokeng Administration South Africa

“I did the Refugee Run in a past year and found it to be amazing and life changing.”  Jimmy Wales, Founder, Wikimedia

“What an incredible experience. I can’t believe this is the reality of 45 million people. Keep up the good work and for raising awareness.” Eva Fowler, Senior Project Associate, New Vision for Agriculture initiative (NVA), WEF

“Thank you for such an incredible and moving experience. I feel hugely compelled to take action.” Justin Keeble, Managing Director, Accenture Sustainability Services, Europe, Africa and Latin America.

“While it can never compare to real trauma/resilience of refugees, Crossroads has a chilling simulation at WEF.” via Twitter, Robert Kauffman, International Relations and Strategic Partnerships, Int Fed Red Cross and Red Crescent

“Thank you for this experience. It gives you an idea about what it means to be a refugee, maybe much more than we can do with our reporting on the situation.” Katrin Else Eigendorf, Reporter, Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (German Media)

“It is very important for ‘corporate guys’ to experience that life! Only then can we do something!”  Agostino Galvagni, COO & Exec Committee Member, Swiss Reinsurance Company Ltd Switzerland

experience_event_refugee_run

“Powerful, moving. I hope we can all find a way to help. Thank you.” Tiffany Ann Kary, Writer and Reporter, Bloomberg News USA

“More events of this format could connect people and leaders on their hearts (not on their number-oriented brains) and once connected emotionally then we are actually really able to change the state of the world.” Veronika Schubring, Novartis

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