May 5

Past Event

UNHCR at 60: A Discussion with António Guterres, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Event Materials



  • Refugees in an Arc of Crisis

    António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees: 66 percent of the world’s refugees originate in an “Arc of Crisis” that begins in Pakistan and ends in the Horn of Africa, a region connected by deep concerns about global security.

  • Population Growth, Urbanization Are Displacement Factors

    Antonio Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees: Certain trends contribute to displacement, including climate change, lack of water and food insecurity. But the greatest contributors to displacement are population growth and urbanization.

  • Libyan Refugee Crisis

    António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees: Since the Libyan crisis began, more than 650,000 people have fled the country for Tunisia or Egypt. Many are jobless, young nationals who could undermine the democracy movement.


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Already in 2011, political upheaval and violence in Ivory Coast and Libya has caused hundreds of thousands to pour across borders into neighboring states in West and North Africa, joining millions of people around the world living as refugees, internally displaced persons and asylum seekers. For sixty years, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has been at the heart of the international community’s response to these crises, and it remains so today.

On May 5, the Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement hosted the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres for a discussion of how UNHCR, its mission, and its efforts have evolved in the past six decades. Guterres also addressed what the future holds for UNHCR and humanitarian assistance in light of the changing nature of displacement in the 21st century.

Senior Fellow Ted Piccone, deputy director of Foreign Policy at Brookings, provided introductory remarks and moderated the discussion. After the program, High Commissioner Guterres took audience questions.

Event Agenda


May 5, 2011

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM EDT

The Brookings Institution

Falk Auditorium

1775 Massachusetts Ave., NW


For More Information

Brookings Office of Communications

(202) 797-6105