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Festival of Encounter to celebrate diversity of refugee communities

Jesuit Refugee Service to host event at ‘Our Lady of Fatima’ Church on June 24

By Lucie Lagodich - Jun 18,2022 - Last updated at Jun 19,2022

AMMAN — In celebration of the diversity of the refugee communities, the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), an international Catholic organisation advocating on behalf of refugees and displaced persons, will host the Festival of Encounter on June 24.

The event, following World Refugee Day on June 20, aims to celebrate the diversity of the refugee communities and portray “the cultural and artistic expressions of the communities JRS serves,” a JRS statement said.

“The idea for the event came out of the wish to share all the talent, all the enrichment that we saw regarding their culture, regarding their communities. We wanted to create an event open to the public, to all the people of Amman, to come and have the chance to learn more about the different communities of refugees living in Amman,” JRS Communications Manager Silvia Mazzocchin told The Jordan Times.

Participants include refugee communities from Yemen, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Palestine, Eritrea and Iraq residing in Jordan, according to the statement.

“Through this event, JRS wishes to create an opportunity of encounter and sharing among refugee communities and local communities, and to favour dialogue and creation of bridges of mutual understanding and solidarity between all members of our society,” the statement read.

Throughout the event, refugees participating in JRS projects will share stories and traditions from their homelands and display traditional clothing.

Mazzocchin noted that visitors to the festival will find members of these refugee communities selling their hand-made products and traditional food.

“It’s an opportunity of economic empowerment for many of them. Most of them are women who base their income on selling their handmade products,” Mazzocchin said.

In the evening there will be live Iraqi and Sudanese music and dance performances accompanied by dabke, K-Pop and Afro-dances, Mazzocchin said.

The festival will be held at the Greek Catholic Church “Our Lady of Fatima” from 3pm to 11pm.

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