Refugee Week Scotland 2007 launch

18 June 2007

Refugee Week Scotland 2007 launches today (Monday 18) at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Photocall at 545pm

From film festivals to football tournaments, comedy nights to carnivals, exhibitions, conferences, workshops, parties and much, much more, Refugee Week Scotland is an exciting and varied programme of events happening across the country to celebrate diversity and raise awareness of refugee issues.

Inspired by the theme of ‘Friendship’ and with over 100 events representing people from over 20 nations, Refugee Week is a time to meet neighbours from different countries, learn about other cultures and share diverse experiences.

Sally Daghlian, chief executive, Scottish Refugee Council, said:

“For many years, refugees have been seeking sanctuary in Scotland, enriching our communities, contributing to our culture, our society and economy. Refugee Week is an acknowledgement of that.

But Refugee Week is not just for refugees. It is for everyone in Scotland. Refugee Week is a time to celebrate what we have in common and embrace what sets us apart.”

Stewart Maxwell, Minister for Communities and Sport, said:

“We can be justly proud in Scotland of our record on integrating asylum seekers and refugees, and of the excellent services we provide – education, health, social work, and police.

We must never forget why people come here, fleeing persecution, war, torture, rape, often risking their lives on that journey to safety. 

On the international stage, many others can learn lessons from what we have achieved in Scotland.”

Lorraine McIntosh of Deacon Blue, who will be singing with the Village Storytelling Centre Choir during Refugee Week, said:

“I am delighted to be a part of Refugee Week and to have the opportunity to sing with this great group of people. They have welcomed me amongst them from the start, and I would like to believe that we can do the same to them.”


Notes to Editors:

  • There will be a photocall to mark the beginning of Refugee Week with Stewart Maxwell, Minister for Communities and Sport, the Village Storytelling Centre Choir (comprised of Scots, asylum seekers and refugees who live in the Pollok area) and dancers from the Maryhill Integration Network (including refugees in national dress) at 545pm at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Basement Foyer (museum-side facing the University of Glasgow – main museum entrance will be closed at this time)
  • The photocall will be followed by a launch event 6-8pm featuring speeches from: Sally Daghlian, Stewart Maxwell and Remzije Sherifi, development worker at Maryhill Integration Network and author of Shadow Behind the Sun, a record of her experiences in Kosovo and of coming to Scotland as a refugee. This will be followed by entertainment from the Village Storytelling Centre Choir and dancers from Maryhill Integration Network.
  • Refugee Week Scotland is co-ordinated by Scottish Refugee Council and is part of Refugee Week, a UK-wide programme of arts, cultural and educational events that celebrate the contribution of refugees to the UK and encourage a better understanding between communities.
  • For a pdf of the full Scottish programme, see For UK-wide events see
  • There are around 10,000 refugees and asylum seekers in Scotland. Iraq, Democratic Republic of Congo, China, Iran, Pakistan and Somalia are consistently amongst the top ten countries people seeking refuge in Scotland have fled.
  • The majority of refugees and asylum seekers are hosted by the world’s poorest countries. The UK hosts only 2 percent of the world’s refugee population (UNHCR 2003 estimate: 276,522). In terms of the relative wealth of host countries, Pakistan is the most generous while the UK ranks just 74th world-wide.
  • Refugees to the UK include 16 knights and peers of the realm, 18 Nobel prize winners, and 71-fellows of the Royal Society. Fish and Chips, the Mini and Marks & Spencer were all introduced to the UK by refugees.
  • For more information or interviews contact Aideen McLaughlin on 0141 223 7927/07734 030 763


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