Michel Gabaudan spoke in the McKinnon Center for Global Affairs at Occidental on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017 and was the keynote speaker for Occidental’s 2017 UN Week.
First, a bit of biography: Mr. Gabaudan became President of Refugees International in September of 2010, leading RI forward in its mission to bring attention and action to refugees and displaced people worldwide. Prior to his role with RI, Mr. Gabaudan served as the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) Regional Representative for the United States and the Caribbean. Mr. Gabaudan’s career with UNHCR spanned more than 25 years, including international service in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Pacific.
Mr. Gabaudan’s lecture, "The Global Refugee and Migration Crisis Under Trump: Where is the US? Where is Europe? What Can We Do About It?" presented startling statistics and facts. Mr. Gabaudan reflected on the current context of the global refugee crisis, recent developments, especially from the Trump administration, and fielded questions from the audience like: "In what ways is RI working to help environmental refugees and other people displaced for reasons besides conflict?" And, "how can students and campuses make a positive impact?"
Students, faculty, staff, and the members of the greater Oxy community gained important insight about the politically polarized discussion today about displaced people. Mr. Gabaudan expressed concern about inaction and incited a passion to take action for many audience members.