Refugees from across the world unite to launch Refugee Week Scotland 2013


A group of young dancers from a Palestinian refugee camp met with refugees now living in Scotland to celebrate the launch of Refugee Week Scotland today.

The Lajee Dance group, who live in the overcrowded and insecure Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem, performed a traditional Palestinian dance while refugees and local Scots taking part in Here We Stay, a music and spoken word performance piece co-produced by Scottish Refugee Council and the Citizen’s Theatre, performed their title track.

Refugee Week Scotland

The groups are just two of the many highlights of Refugee Week Scotland. The arts and cultural festival, which features more than 100 events across the country, celebrates refugees’ contribution to Scottish culture.

Many of the young Palestinian dancers have experienced persecution, while refugees from Here We Stay have fled violence and threats to their lives in their home countries.


But the mood today was joyful, as the groups came together to celebrate Scotland’s rich and colourful heritage, the theme of Refugee Week Scotland 2013.

Suzi Simpson, Arts and Cultural Development Officer for Scottish Refugee Council, which co-ordinates Refugee Week Scotland, said: “It is a real privilege to be part of this unique and exciting festival. This event underlines so much of what makes it special - not only the talent on show, but the powerful and moving stories of so many people involved in Refugee Week Scotland.

“We have performers from Zimbabwe, Zambia, Iraq, Egypt, Pakistan, Palestine, the Highlands and Islands of Scotland and right here in Glasgow and most places in between. And though they all bring their own diverse heritage, there is so much common ground.

We’re really excited about our Refugee Week Scotland programme this year - we believe it really is a festival for everyone.”

Salah Alajarma, Director of the Lajee Centre, said: “We are delighted to be in Scotland for Refugee Week and to be performing for Scottish audiences. The founders of the centre wanted to ensure children of Aida refugee camp have greater opportunities than they had themselves growing up in a life under military occupation and daily persecution.

“We believe in building a brighter future for all Palestinians and refugees in Scotland by creating awareness through sharing our traditional dance, culture and life with you during our tour around your country." 

Opening concert

Later today Refugee Week Scotland will get into full swing, with the Refugee Week Opening Concert featuring three artists nominated for the SAY Music Awards, Malcolm Middleton, Karine Polwart and Admiral Fallow.

The nationwide festival, which is in its 13th year, aims to promote understanding of refugees and celebrate their contribution to society.

Lajee Dance will perform across Scotland during Refugee Week Scotland:

 Glasgow        Sun 16 June       Partick Burgh Halls        12pm

Edinburgh     Tue 18 June       Old St. Paul’s Church      7pm

Aberdeen      Thur 20 June     Queens Cross Church     7pm

Dundee         Fri 21 June        Dundee West Church       7pm

Perth             Sat 22 June       Solas Festival                  12pm

For more info see:

Here We Stay – Wed 19, Thurs 20 June, Tron Theatre Glasgow, 7.45pm

For more info see:

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