Refugees are one of the most pressing global issues on the humanitarian agenda. More than 60 million people have fled their homes to escape war, the impacts of climate change, natural disasters, terrorist regimes and other unlivable conditions. All people deserve to live and work in safe, equitable and empowering environments which allow them to thrive. But refugees are not just victims to be protected, they are talented, creative, hard-working people, assets to the economies and communities that welcome them.
Last month, Richard Branson was honored with the McCall-Pierpaoli Humanitarian Award in Washington, DC. In his speech The B Team Co-Chair took a stand against the rising tide of xenophobia and fear targeting refugees, noting that how we chose to meet the refugee crisis is a direct reflection of how open and progressive our societies are. He highlighted that the refugee crisis is a symptom of greater social ills and challenges—from climate change to global terrorism to poor governance.
He called on leaders in business, government and civil society to work together to ease the plight of refugees and successfully transition them into new societies, and also to double-down on efforts to tackle the underlying issues that drive people from their home in the first place.