“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

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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“It’s really important that you do this because it lets you understand what we go through.’

The young refugee was speaking to world leaders, at Davos, international heads of multi-national companies, government members, NGO leaders. And they hung on her every word.

Yusra Mardini and her sister, Sarah, fled Damascus when their home was destroyed in August, 2015. They made it to the Turkish coast where human smugglers put them in a badly overcrowded boat which, soon, began to sink. The sisters, both swimmers, jumped into the sea and helped swim the boat to Lesvos, Greece: a three hour marathon. Later, they found refuge in Germany and Yusra went on to represent the Refugee Olympic Team in Rio, 2016. Sarah, whose shoulder was damaged in the rescue, volunteered for humanitarian work in the Lesvos camps.

Yusra spoke after our refugee simulation at the 2017 World Economic Forum in Davos: a programme in which participants step ‘into the shoes’ of refugees. They are forced to make choices as they taste, for just a brief time, what it feels like to be disempowered and left vulnerable to potential abuse. Many were profoundly moved.

Yusra Mardini shares her story

 

This page features a few quotes from Davos participants.

“Everything I came here to say you have just experienced”.

– Filippo Grandi. United Nations Commssioner for Refugees, post refugee simulation in Davos.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, during the debrief and engagement session after he joined the simulation.

 

“This simulation is the most powerful way I’ve seen to enter into the world of refugees, empathise with their suffering and renew commitment to bring hope.”

– Kevin Jenkins. President / CEO World Vision International.

 

“I think it is very important for us to bring the simulation to Davos… because people like us often feel the world forgets us. They make policy and other decisions at their level, not ours. They don’t know what life is like on the ground.’

– David Livingstone Okello. Former child soldier/IDP

 

“I work in international development on issues related to refugees and identity and there is simply nothing I’ve done or experienced that carried such impact. Thank you, thank you.”

– Dakota Gruener, Executive Director, ID2020

 

“75 minutes to open your eyes and your heart.”

– Thomas Gass, UN DESA, with Antonio Gueterres’ office

 

“One of the most profound things I’ve done in my life.”

– Privahini Bradroo. BlueOak.  Co-Chair, World Economic Forum Council on Advanced Materials

 

“Incredibly moving, terrifying and critical experience. Thank you for the very thoughtful and experienced staff.”

– Scarlet Cronin, Tent Foundation/MasterCard


WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM 2017 SPONSORS

We bring our refugee simulation to world leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, each January. This would be impossible without the generous financial support of these partners, who sponsored the simulation in 2017.

Cathay Pacific

Facebook

Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Linklaters

Mastercard

Nestle

UNHCR, The UN Refugee Agency

UPS

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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Each January, some of the planet’s most powerful corporate leaders gather in the small Swiss town of Davos to discuss how they can use their resources and influence to improve the state of the world. It’s the World Economic Forum, and this year, Crossroads was privileged to bring our Refugee Run to the event, giving participants a deep, though brief, experience of life as a refugee.

While we’ve been running simulations in Davos since 2009, this was the first year we were part of the official programme, giving us a new, unique opportunity to reach some of the world’s changemakers.

Refugee_run

We focused, in particular, on the escalating crisis in Syria and the plight of the refugees in the neighbouring countries. We brought aid workers from Jordan and Lebanon who spoke of the refugees they serve. Wonderfully, people of Syrian nationality attended too, including refugees.

simulations_Davos_2014_2

Those who took part in the experience ranged from the King and Queen of Belgium to leaders of multinational corporations, to Sheryl Sandberg (below), COO of Facebook, who spoke to the participants about ways to find peace in this troubled region.

simulation_famus_people

Many of the CEOs who attended were blinking back tears: people who are used to managing their international companies, but who found themselves feeling helpless and disempowered when confronted with the reality simulated. We had scores of comments that echoed one another’s themes.

‘I was skeptical but this simulation has been too powerful. Overwhelming. A call to action.’

‘A powerful way to seal our commitment to improving the world.’

‘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

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

Company directors responded in many ways. Some spoke of renewed commitment to keeping factories open in the Syrian region so people could remain employed. Several offered to fund schools for refugee children in camps. One spoke of using the company’s solar technology to support the need for power in camps.

Raphael, former DR Congo refugee and now aid worker, shared his experiences and insights with participants.

The goal is, in a broken world, to be a crossroads: a place where those in need can be linked with those who can help. In Davos, we often feel that we speak to some of the world’s most powerful individuals on behalf of some of the world’s least powerful.

To see the full set of images from Crossroads’ Refugee Run in Davos, click here.

Want to book the Refugee Run for your organisation?

We’d love to talk! Click here or email life-x@crossroads.org.hk, or visit Global X-Perience for Crossroads’ full range of simulations, catering to a variety of individuals or groups.

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

Our food-saving superheroes

Every day, 3,600 tonnes of food waste are sent to landfill in Hong Kong, according to Feeding Hong Kong. Meanwhile, people...

read more ...

Recycling artisans make good news in Sri Lanka

When Sri Lankan artist Sagara Ranga Liyanage decided to start a handicrafts business, he had to think outside the box. "I...

read more ...

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“I don’t want to throw this stuff out. I want it to go to someone who needs it. If only there...

read more ...

Battling Covid-19 together

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