Today’s news comes from across the pond in Geneva, Switzerland, where students at Webster University’s Geneva campus are getting a hands-on feel for the lives of international refugees. The student-run Webster Humanitarian Association offers an intensive three-day simulation that participants will not soon forget.
Simulation participants begin their first day as refugees with a 5-km hike to the Webster campus. They are divided into “families,” given stories of fleeing from persecution, and even given sacks of flour to represent their babies they must care for. They are treated gruffly by actors playing officials and guards. They are separated, questioned, and searched. The lengthy interrogations often take place in a language they don’t understand. “Refugees” experience threats and a lack of food and water. Participants are told that during this process, the women are often repeatedly raped.
The second day of one particular simulation, the participants were awakened in the middle of the night, when the tents were entered, supposedly by the raiders who had chased them from their homes at the beginning of their flight. They were dragged out into the cold night air and blindfolded, while other raiders re-entered the tents and killed their babies.
Although the refugee simulation was humbling and traumatizing, blogger Roberta Medrano Callejas said she would repeat the experience without hesitation because it had been so thought-provoking.
Webster Humanitarian Association at Webster University’s Geneva, Switzerland, campus promotes learning, human rights, and equality, marking special U.N. days such as the World Aids Day and World Refugee Day. With its home campus based in St. Louis, MO, Webster’s Geneva campus boasts students from 90 different countries.
Today’s high-five, fist-bump, and tip of the hat go to Webster University for making us a little more aware of real issues going on in our world.
For more information, check out Webster's site here.