June 17, 2015

World Refugee Day, 20 June: 'Who Will Speak If We Don't?'

Editor: 'Who will speak?' the perennially challenging social justice question, was answered late last month at the 'Mission: one heart many voices 2015' national Catholic conference on mission, held in Sydney, Australia.

'The Future is in Our Hands.' (2014). Created by Syrian youth and artist Joel Bergner in the Za'atari Syrian Refugee Camp in Jordan in partnership with aptART, ACTED and UNICEF. www.joelartista.com Used with permission.

Moved by the presentation, 'Crying with the Suffering', given by keynote speaker Maryanne Loughry rsm AM, Sisters of Mercy worked with other religious and staff in attendance to compose a letter to the Australian Federal (national) Government, calling on the government to display leadership 'and use its influence in the region to broker safe passage for those trapped at sea'. For, in the words of the Kenyan born Somali-British poet and writer, Warsan Shire, 'You have to understand, that no one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land'.

 Watch the video presentation by Dr Maryanne Loughry rsm AM (24.39)


Dr Maryanne Loughry AM is a Research Professor at Boston College, Massachusetts at the Graduate School of Social Work and the Centre for Human Rights and International Justice. Dr Loughry is a Sister of Mercy and the Associate Director, Jesuit Refugee Service Australia she been associated with the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) since 1988 commencing work in the Indochinese refugee camps in the Philippines (1988) and the Vietnamese Detention Centres in Hong Kong (1990, 1992–93) as a psychologist and trainer. Dr Loughry is also a research associate of the Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford where she was the Pedro Arrupe tutor in Forced Migration for over seven years (1997–2004).

Presently Dr Loughry is also a member of the Australian Government’s Minister of Immigration’s Advisory Council on Asylum Seekers and Detention (MCASD) and serves on the Governing Committee of the International Catholic Migration Committee (ICMC). She has conducted research and programme evaluation in numerous refugee and conflict settings including Lebanon, Banda Aceh, Indonesia, Syria, Rwanda, Uganda, South Africa and Sierra Leone. In 2010 Dr Loughry was awarded the Order of Australia (AM) for service to refugees and displaced persons.

Across the globe, Sisters of Mercy and their Partners-in-mercy work together to affirm dignity, create opportunity and ensure a future full of hope for those living on the margins: immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers, trafficked persons, the exploited and the oppressed.

In the latest issue of Mercy eNews we hear from some of those voices from different parts of our Mercy world speaking 'for the poor and the broken..for the peoples oppressed'.(Who Will Speak - Marty Haugen)

Messages to:
Maryanne Loughry rsm AM - Associate Director, Jesuit Refugee Service Australia
Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA
A Year of Hardship in Yarmouk. The UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) photo gallery which includes the image featured in Sr Maryanne's talk, can be viewed here

We thank Catholic Mission for making the video available to us

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