The following references provide an explanation of the current refugee crisis, the organizations involved, and some ongoing global refugee arts programs. 





"The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was created in 1950, during the aftermath of the Second World War, to help millions of Europeans who had fled or lost their homes. We had three years to complete our work and then disband. Today, over 67 years later, our organization is still hard at work, protecting and assisting refugees around the world."


A 2017 report on market-oriented approaches to refugee livelihood programs.

"The scale and complexity of the challenge of responding to the needs of refugees and other forcibly displaced people for protection and assistance have increased as displacement persists over time. Prolonged periods of displacement, often for more than a generation, have a devastating impact on the lives of communities of concern and result in grave losses of human potential."

"The only tripartite U.N. agency, since 1919 the ILO brings together governments, employers and workers of 187 member States , to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all women and men."

arts programs

Arts programs for refugees are relatively scarce, but those that exist are vibrant and powerful. If you know of other initiatives like these that you would like to share, please send a comment in the Contact Page form.

Ritsona Kingdom Journal

An arts magazine run by refugee youth at the Ritsona refugee camp in mainland Greece, aided by Lighthouse Relief.

Joel Artista

Group mural projects for refugee communities led by artist Joel Bergen (co-founder of Artolution, below)


"A community-based public arts organization that seeks to ignite positive social change through creative, participatory and collaborative art making."

UNHCR Kenya: Artists for Refugees Initiative

A project supporting artist refugees in Kenya to use their skills and talents to become self-sustaining.



A writing and visual art platform featuring works by refugee youth, founded by Ahmed Badr, a U.S. resettled refugee from Iraq.


UNHCR Kenya 2017 video from Artists for Refugees project

remarkable artists

Palestinian artist Laila uses graffiti murals to empower girls and women in her refugee camp in Jordan.


Artist Mohammad Joukhadar and his assistants paint murals on the tin caravans that house the ~79,000 refugees currently living within the Za'atari camp

Photograph: Christopher Herwig/UNHCR

Photograph: Christopher Herwig/UNHCR

Syrian artist Mahmoud al-Hariri, and other artists from the Za'atari refugee camp in Jordan recreated the fallen city of Palmyra in intricate models 


10-yr-old Afghan artist Farhad displays his works in his Serbian refugee camp and tells what art, resettlement, and acceptance mean to him.



TEDx talk by artist Syed Safdar about Australia's indefinite refugee detention system and the artistic expressions that have come from detainees and were exhibited in 'The Refugee Art Project'.

"By educating the public about the plight of refugees in Australia, the project demonstrates the power of art to subvert negative misconceptions and promote moral understanding."