June 2, 2018

The 1 Journey Festival brought a day-long celebration of refugees to the grounds of the Washington National Cathedral. Participants at the free festival built connections among cultures through food, fashion, music, and dance while celebrating refugee talents and stories. The festival aims to change the native narrative about refugees and empower participants to take actions to stand in solidarity with displaced persons worldwide. 

Among the day’s highlights, Chef Jose Andres and a refugee chef hosted a cooking demonstration and discussed the importance of food and culture. Actor, model, and UN spokesperson Ger Duany shared insights from his personal story as one of the “lost boys” of Sudan. The celebrated Pihcintu Multicultural Children’s Chorus performed a song written especially for the festival. Refugee and immigrant music and dance groups performed throughout the day. Children participating in craft workshops made henna designs, built homemade kites, and enjoyed calligraphy lessons taught by refugee families.

The festival featured a marketplace offering handmade wares and creations from the original home countries of refugees. Festival goers also connected with refugees living at camp settlements through virtual reality films and live chat features via Shared Studios’ immersive video technology booth.

In conjunction with the festival, the Foreign Policy Institute continued its series exploring international affairs through arts and culture as The Big Picture hosted The Children of Karam House: an exhibition of photography and written testimonials of Syrian refugee youth in Turkey. View the exhibition online at bigpicturesais.com.