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.