United Nations’ World Refugee Day To Be Celebrated With Concert and Films

Music from around the globe will be featured in a benefit concert being held at Yale as part of “The Art of Survival,” a program marking the annual World Refugee Day commemoration, established by the United Nations to raise public consciousness about the refugee experience.

The concert will take place 5-8 p.m. on Thursday, June 18, at Luce Hall, 34 Hillhouse Ave. It is sponsored by Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services (IRIS), in collaboration with the Yale MacMillan Center’s Programs in International Education Resources (commonly known as PIER).

The featured performers will be:

• Aly “Tatchol” Camara, master of Guinean dance, who will perform with Mark Zarrillo and Seny Camara. The ensemble will lead a short workshop for the audience in traditional Guinean rhythm and dance.

• Echo Uganda, which will perform the traditional music of Uganda. The group was founded by Gideon Ampeire, a native of Uganda, who is now a graduate student in music at the University of Connecticut.

• José Lezcano, a Cuban-American guitarist, folklorist and composer, who specializes in a range of Latin American guitar music. His “Art of Survival” program will highlight the music of Cuba and Colombia.

• Amir ElSaffar, a former jazz and classical trumpeter, who will perform in the centuries-old tradition of Iraqi Maqam with Omar Dewachi, an Iraqi oud (lute) player.

Tickets for the concert will be available at the door, beginning at 4:30 p.m.; there is a $15 suggested donation.

Proceeds from the concert will help support the work being done by IRIS, a federally recognized refugee resettlement agency that provides case management, housing services, healthcare coordination and em­ployment services to refugees and other displaced people. Currently there are an estimated 15 million refugees worldwide. The United States invites approximately 60,000 refugees annually to come to this country, following a rigorous screening process by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. IRIS currently serves refugees from Iraq, Cuba, Afghanistan, Iran, Colombia, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia. Refugees are men, women and children who have been persecuted in their countries of origin on the basis of race, religious belief, nationality, membership in a particular social group, and/or political opinion.

This year’s Art of Survival program also includes “The Future Will Be Possible,” a film series being presented June 13-14 in collaboration with the Yale Summer Film Institute and the International Festival of Arts & Ideas June 13-27 (see related story), and “White Collar, Blue Collar, Pink Slip: Art at Work,” a visual art exhibition opening June 30 at the Parachute Factory Gallery, Erector Square, 319 Peck St., New Haven. Both of these events are free and open to the public.

For more information, call (203) 562-2095 or visit the website at www.irisct.org.

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