'Unsheltered' lectures explores refugees' journey and Christians' response to crisis

Lee University will host a series of lectures and presentations titled "Unsheltered: A Christian Response to the Refugee Crisis" which will explore asylum seekers' journey from their homeland to the United States.

(REUTERS / Yannis Behrakis)Frantic Kurdish refugees struggle for a loaf of bread during a humanitarian aid distribution at the Iraqi-Turkish border. Feb. 17, 2015.

Erin Williamson, a Lee alumna who experienced some time in Egypt with the refugees, said "Unsheltered" aims to "take students on a journey from conflict to host countries to resettlement without ever needing to leave campus." Speakers will discuss various aspects of the ongoing refugee crisis and explain its effect on the local communities, Times Free Press relays.

"We started planning this series last semester, and it has become increasingly timely," says Dr. Carolyn Dirksen, who heads the series with Dr. Murl Dirksen. "Our goal is to provide information for our students and the Cleveland community about the plight of the growing number of refugees in the world and the processes they go through for resettlement."

The Tennessee community is being invited to join the free "Unsheltered" events over the next couple of weeks. The programs are scheduled for 7 pm on Feb. 9, 16, 21 and 23.

Based on the United Nations' estimates, there were around 65.3 million people displaced in 2015, 40.8 million of which were internally displaced. Out of every 113 people in the world, one is a refugee, and only 1 percent of all refugees will be resettled, Vox reports.

The group Doctors Without Borders explained that refugees are not just persecuted in their home countries because they also experience torture, sexual violence, enslavement, and other kinds of atrocities even as they are fleeing. These people have also been forced to leave all their belongings by the time that they receive international aid.

In addition, it is reportedly assumed that the refugee status is short term. However, Doctors Without Borders says in real life, a person is displaced for an average of 17 years once they flee their homeland.

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