Seeking Refuge is a multi-year project providing global insight into the realities of modern-day human movements, backed by in-depth research and field study, and connected to a series of policy recommendations with accompanying communication tools.
Humanity is on the move like never before: by any measure, the number of displaced people and refugees is unprecedented. After decades of free trade and cross-border capital flows, humans are now following the same paths, accelerated by new types of violent conflict and the indiscriminate nature of climate change. People are flowing up to and over the borders that were drawn at a very different time and they are being met with responses that were developed in another age.
At best, new refugees and migrants contribute to the work force, addressing a demographic deficit in the North, the surplus in the South. At worst, we are creating a series of ever-expanding, multi-generational humanitarian crises that will reinforce the growing numbers of foreign extremists.
Beginning in 2016, and continuing through 2018, the United Nations is reformulating its policies for dealing with refugees and informal migrations. The two new Compacts will create the templates for future action on this issue. At a time when a deep understanding of the issue is required, the quality of the information is decreasing. The budgets of media companies have been cut for long term projects, resulting in attention being concentrated on the “breaking news,” such as the most dangerous parts of the journeys of displaced people. The resulting coverage, and therefore the ways in which opinion leaders and the general population are learning about the issue, is driving us further from an understanding, pushing us towards poor policy responses.
Politically, uncontrolled migration is also adding to nationalistic fervor and an increasingly closed trade environment.
For business, this is creating both financial uncertainty and increased friction costs.
The stories of why people move, and what life is like when they get to their new homes, is lost. These factors—understanding why people are moving, how their lives change, what they encounter on arrival, what they hope and wish for, how they could be integrated better, and what drives decisions to go home—are keys to deeper understanding and better policies. stories of why people move, and what life is like when they get to their new homes, is lost.
These factors—understanding why people are moving, how their lives change, what they encounter on arrival, what they hope and wish for, how they could be integrated better, and what drives decisions to go home—are keys to deeper understanding and better policies.
By documenting stories and humanizing the individuals within the major refuge and migration flows on every continent, Seeking Refuge provides powerful coverage and research for business leaders, humanitarians, policy makers and the general public to influence the current debate on one of the most important issues of our time.
Over a period of three years, the Seeking Refuge team will conduct field visits on 6 continents, documenting the major refugees and migration flows today. This research will: (1) by partnering with a peak business group advise business leaders enabling them to make an impact on the global debate; (2) by working with a university based think-tank contribute to policy and academic recommendations; and (3) by working alongside UN organizations influence international policy and the humanitarian response.
The project will deliver communication materials for our partners, news media output of stories and images, rich social media content, a traveling photographic exhibition, presentations for significant conferences, and two books, one written, one photographic.
The project was developed by Exposing Hope, a US not-for-profit focused on under-reported human rights issues. Working on 10 years of experience, Seeking Refuge is produced, written and photographed by Alissa Everett and Peter Holmes à Court.
Living, working, and traveling through 121 countries, Alissa considers herself incredibly fortunate to have photograph on all 7 continents. She has travelled on assigned for news and magazine outlets, untaken humanitarian work and pursued personal projects in some of the most remote locations on the planet. Much of her travels have been solo, under the weight of her own backpack and camera equipment. Alissa’s early work in conflict zones included Iraq, where she self-drove into the south and ended up embedded with the 101st Airborne, traveling with General Petreas. Other conflict zone work include multiple trips to Sudan, Afghanistan, assignments in Gaza and the West Bank, and eight years of visits to the DR Congo. While her assignments remain in the same regions, over time her focus has changed to the human consequences of conflict and, in the case of Congo, following and assisting communities for many years. Humanitarian work includes the Syrian refugee crisis for UNICEF, the Swat refugee camps for World Food Program, peace and reconciliation work for Humanity United in South Sudan and documenting the recovery of survivors of sexual violence in the Congo for her own foundation, Exposing Hope. Her personal interest in traditional festivals and other cultural gatherings has taken her to India’s Holi, Brazil’s Carnivale, the Lozi people’s Kumoboka. Born in California, she has lived in Mexico, Senegal, Lebanon and New York City, and has recently relocated to Nairobi, Kenya. A graduate of UCLA and the Peace Corp, prior to photography she had a career as an investment banker. www.alissaeverett.com
Peter Holmes à Court
Peter had a 20 year career as an executive and company director, running companies in the US, UK and Australia before, in 2011, making a move to become a writer. Peter is currently signed with Penguin/RandomHouse to write RIDING with GIANTS, his autobiography. His articles on the World Economic Forum in Davos have appeared in numerous publication over the last four years. Peter’s articles and images have been published in The Guardian, The Australian, Huffington Post, Financial Review, Sydney Morning Herald amongst others. Peter’s executive positions include the being founding Chairman of The Greater Sydney Partnership Limited and the Brand Sydney Initiative, the CEO of the Australian Agricultural Company, Australia’s largest cattle enterprise, and Executive-Chairman of the South Sydney Rabbitohs Rugby League team, winners of the 2014 National Rugby League championship. In 1993, he formed Back Row Productions which produced live shows in 30 countries and 300 cities with acts including the Australian show Tap Dogs, the UK’s Eddie Izzard (in the US) and the US’s Jerry Seinfeld (in the UK). Two filmed specials aired on PBS across the US. As a non-Executive Director he held positions at the Barangaroo Delivery Authority, Queensland Rail, Stoll Moss Theatres (London), and was a Trustee of the Queensland Performing Arts Trust. Peter read law at Oxford University and received his BA in economics at Middlebury College, Vermont.
Founded in 2007, Exposing Hope is a US 501(c)(3) not-for-profit that uses the power of photography and storytelling to raise the awareness of underreported human rights abuses globally. It has held exhibits, produced digital media content for its supporters as well as funding specific projects as proof sources. Specific projects include a 7-year commitment to a series of Safe Houses for survivors of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and an Education Fund in Uganda for orphan girls wishing to finish school and attend university. The first pubic exhibit of Exposing Hope, held ten years ago this year, was REFUGEE: Stories of Hope from Darfur.
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Peter and Alissa and the team at SEEKING REFUGE