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Jan 31, 2024
On December 17, 2023, a photo exhibition of refugees organized by the student group "Creating a World Without the Word 'Refugee'" was held at AP House 4, B-biz LINK. The exhibition featured 43 photographs focusing on the conflict between Israel and Hamas that erupted in October 2023 and the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia since 2022. Charts summarizing the historical background of each conflict were also displayed.
On the day of the event, a lecture was delivered by Ms. Yuka Fujii, a representative of the Global Shapers Community Yokohama, and hosted by "People Port Inc.," which operates "ZERO PC." ZERO PC employs individuals who came to Japan as refugees to repair and sell collected computers. Additionally, lectures were given by volunteer organizations "BOND - Association to Walk Together with Foreign Workers and Refugees" and "Creating a World Without the Word 'Refugee'," both of which are engaged in support activities for foreign workers and refugees living in Japan.
Initiated and operated by students from the College of Sustainability and Tourism under the guidance of Professor Yuko Uehara, "Creating a World Without the Word 'Refugee'" celebrated its 6th year of activity since its inception. From the beginning, the students who belong to the organization have been asking and searching for the answer to the question, "What can we do now, given that we have almost no direct contact with refugees?".
Participants on the day shared reflections such as, "While I had seen the news about the war between Russia and Ukraine, I didn't know the details. However, participating in the photo exhibition and seeing the pictures of individuals with sad faces made my heart ache. It became a catalyst for me to think about what I can do now," and "I had a superficial understanding of things, making judgments from my own perspective of 'good or bad.' Learning about the background of the issues made me question my judgments. I felt that this event was something we, who are turning away from existing problems, should pay attention to."
＜Comment from the Student Representative of "Creating a World Without the Word 'Refugee'"＞
As conflicts intensify around the world, the refugee issue worsens year by year. In the face of adversity, "Creating a World Without the Word 'Refugee'" consistently adopts the perspective that conflicts are created by "people just like ourselves" and strives to understand the other. We aim for a "world without the word 'refugee'" beyond the small conflicts of daily life, and we pledge to take a powerful new step toward the future.
In this photo exhibition and lecture, we have prepared ourselves to face various conflict structures occurring worldwide, including the conflicts between Israel and Hamas, and Ukraine and Russia, with a deep sense of pain. We have recognized that these tragedies are not stories exclusive to distant countries. Living in the same time and space, we have embraced the sorrow as fellow human beings, expanded our perspective beyond being consumed by our own concerns immediately, and operated under the strong belief that "by continually transforming ourselves, we can change reality."