High Commissioner Grandi ended the Dialogue with a powerful and informative set of remarks. Mr. Grandi repeatedly emphasized the contribution of hosting states in responding to refugee situations. Thus he began by describing the continuing South Sudanese displacement crisis (about to enter its fifth year), mentioning the six neighboring states that have taken in two million refugees and implicitly contrasting their efforts with the contributions of donor states (only 1/3 of the appeal for funds had been met, and of the 90,000 refugees UNHCR has said need resettlement it is likely that less than 2% will actually be resettled this year). The High Commissioner stated that thinking about responsibility-sharing must begin with recognition that hosting states “pay the highest price” (particularly municipalities). Hosting states, he said, “have been waiting a very long time for things to change.”
I am “blogging” (never thought I would use that word) from the High Commissioner’s Dialogue on Protection Challenges in Geneva, which is devoted this year to the Global Compact on Refugees. High Commissioner Grandi gave a lengthy opening statement [see the UNHCR story on the speech]. The HC stated that the next step in the process, following the two day Dialogue, would be the writing of a “zero draft” of the Compact, which would be shared with states prior to the consultation stage set to begin in mid-February.
If Casablanca were made today—at the height of the greatest refugee crisis World War II—what would it look like? To celebrate 75 years of the classic, The New School hosted a screening and discussion of the film titled, “Casablanca at 75: A Refugee Story.” Noah Isenberg, a professor at Lang College and author of, We’ll Always Have Casablanca: The Life, Legend, and Afterlife of Hollywood’s Most Beloved Movie, was joined by Alexander Aleinikoff, the director of the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility, and New York Times film critic, A.O. Scott. In their discussion, the particular focus on the refugee aspect of the film brought up several topical and intriguing points that asked attendees to imagine what the film would look like and whether or not it would have the same impact.