2011-10-10 | News
UNHCR and the Civil Society Commemorate the 150th Anniversary of

On the 10th of October 2011, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Armenia, jointly colleagues and partners, the civil society, school-children and refugees, marked the 150th anniversary of the birth of Fridtjof Nansen, the first High Commissioner for Refugees in the League of Nations.

The commemoration was organised in Nansen school No 150 in Yerevan with the initiative and support of UNHCR Armenia, with the joint efforts of Future is yours NGO, the students and teachers of Nansen school and refugee children, in collaboration with UNHCR’s implementing partner, the Armenian Centre for Health and Education NGO. The event was followed by the series of awareness raising activities and open dialogues with the students and the refugee children who were granted the possibility to learn more about Nansen and his humanitarian endeavours as well as UN Refugee Agency’s mandate and programme in the world.

Through their various activities, presentations and performances during the commemoration event, the children paid tribute to the great humanist, the international hero and a humanitarian worker dear to the hearts of hundreds of thousands of refugees. Event also went in harmony with the 60th anniversary of UNHCR and Do 1 Thing campaign, UNHCR’s strong advocacy worldwide through the year of 2011.

In his opening speech, the UNHCR Representative in Armenia, Damtew Dessalegne highlighted the unique role of Fridtjof Nansen in respect to the stateless and the displaced after the First World War and ‘Nansen passports’, that the great humanist introduced to ensure the free passage across borders of thousands of refugees. ‘’During his tenure as the High Commissioner for Refugees, Fridtjof Nansen set a high standard for action on behalf of refugees and was an example to all those working for humanitarian causes’’, Damtew Dessalegne said.

The programme of the event was comprised official part with welcoming remarks as well as different activities, devoted to the theme of Nansen, with the active participation of the guests, the students and refugee children, i.e. tree-planting and opening of Nansen park in the school-yard; out-door activities to illustrate the children’s achievements owing awareness the raising sessions; presentations; demonstration of video materials. The event was enriched with ‘Who is a refugee’ puppet show for younger students; art works and drawing contest; awards handing ceremony and a concert performed by the children.

In the frame of Nansen’s 150th anniversary of the birth, the opening of the Nansen museum, established with the efforts of the school, was organised, embroidery on batik, the art works by children, were donated to the new Nansen museum and UNHCR.

The flash-mob with white and blue balloons, the symbols of peace and the United Nations, followed by a solemn 150 lighted candles ceremony, in commemoration of Nansen’s 150th birthday ended the event.

Attached images

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