David Miliband Reflects on the Refugee Crisis

Worldwide, 1 in 120 people are fleeing conflict at the moment, 20 million of them are refugees, 40 million of them are internally displaced. This global refugee crisis in an intractable issue that many state leaders and United Nation agencies are attempting to address through resettlement and short-term humanitarian aid, but this is not enough. Many experts, including David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), say governments have to do more.

As former Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of the United Kingdom from 2007 to 2010 and current President and CEO of IRC, Miliband brought a dual perspective of both government and NGO leadership and experience on the refugee crisis and insight on long-term solutions to the Aspen Institute’s Conversations with Great Leaders in honor of Preston Robert Tisch on Thursday, May 5th. Joined by Michael Doyle, Director of the Columbia Global Policy Initiative and University Professor of Columbia University, the two discussed the magnitude of this massive humanitarian crisis and the inconvenience of having middle-income countries in Africa and the Middle East to host the majority of refugees. Miliband put forward three solutions to tackle this global issue:

1. Refugee resettlement should occur in wealthier countries like the United States and United Kingdom, but keeping in mind that this will not be a majority part of the solution
2. Integration of refugees into the local economy is key
3. The humanitarian aid system has to become much less divorced from the development system

The event took place at Hunter College’s Roosevelt House, and is part of the Leadership Series in memory of Preston Robert Tisch sponsored by Steve Tisch, Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch, and the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund.