What is Refugee Week?

Refugee week is a yearly week-long festival that is celebrated across the world, but what is refugee week and how can you get involved? Find out more below.

World Refugee Day takes place on 20 June, and every year the UK celebrates Refugee Week around this date. Refugee Week 2024 will run from 17th – 23rd June.

This programme of cultural events, sport, community arts and education highlights and celebrates refugees’ unique contributions to our national and local culture. It also aims to create dialogue and understanding about why people flee their homeland in search of safety and seek asylum abroad.

How is Refugee Week celebrated?

By holding lots of different, fun events throughout the country, Refugee Week brings asylum-seekers together with other members of the general public. Film screenings, football matches, public talks and theatre performances – these are just some of the events you can take part in over the course of the week. Refugee Week is an umbrella festival, so if you have an idea for an event, there are plenty of ways to get involved.

How did Refugee Week start?

Refugee Week was established in 1988 to counter negative depictions of refugees in the media, and to overcome community objections. The events and educational opportunities of the programme are now an annual highlight for people all over the country. It is operated by Counterpoints Arts in partnership with UNHCR, the British Red Cross, the National Education Union, Refugee Action, Oxfam, and many other national and international organisations.

How is UK for UNHCR supporting Refugee Week 2024?

We have put together a full week of in-person and virtual events for you to take part in, from tea and talks for Cuppa Hope to a screening and screen talk with Waad al-Kateab, there are a host of ways to get involved. You can find out more about the events here. If you can’t attend our events but are able to donate, you will directly be supporting refugees in need.

For more FAQs around ‘what is Refugee Week’, click here.

What is Refugee Week’s theme for 2024?

Each year there is a new theme which encourages conversations throughout the celebrations.

For 2024 the theme is ‘our home’, inspiring those that are getting involved to talk about their experiences of what ‘home’ means to them. Refugees have been forced to flee their homes, and for everyone the idea of losing their home is terrifying and unsettling. But home can be much more than a physical place, it can be the neighbourhoods we live in, the community that surrounds us and the world we all share.

The guiding principles of Refugee Week 2024

More than anything, Refugee Week aims to celebrate the talents and contributions of refugees. While no one should feel like they need to ‘prove‘ themselves in order to find a safe home, it’s important to give people the space to demonstrate their unique skills and stories.

It’s open to everyone

Everyone can take part, and organisers aim to remove all barriers to participation.

There is a bigger ‘us’

While everyone has their own experiences and differing access to power and resources, everyone can come together to create an interconnected ‘us.’

There is power in the arts

Arts and cultural events can help people understand other perspectives and give them insight into refugees’ experiences.

A platform for stories

Refugee Week provides a platform for people to share their unique stories.


Whenever possible, leadership on refugee initiatives should come from people who have relevant lived experience.

A diverse group

Refugees are not a single entity – every refugee has their own experience based on their age, gender, class, race and sexuality. No one narrative speaks to their diverse experiences.

To celebrate this year’s Refugee Week, UK for UNHCR has a whole host of activities. Visit our Refugee Week 2024 page to find out more.

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