On Tuesday, October 25th, both ALIRP and ALIRP Board Member, April Jackson MacLennan, were honored at Global Ties Alabama's Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon at the Huntsville Botanical Gardens. The theme was "Celebrating Global Pathways of Leadership and Citizen Diplomacy.”
Global Ties recognized ALIRP and April with awards for their organizational and individual contributions in raising awareness on the importance of citizen diplomacy on a local scale and welcoming international professionals on exchanges to Alabama’s education, business, arts and STEM sectors. ALIRP was recognized for its work with Global Ties, assisting and advocating for Afghan and Ukrainian families resettled within Alabama as well as educating, advocating and providing direct support services for refugees, asylum seekers and others seeking humanitarian immigration relief. ALIRP’s Executive Director and Immediate Past President, Dr. Lynda Wilson, was recognized for founding ALIRP and her tireless work on behalf of immigrant communities. April was recognized for meeting with and presenting on U.S. Constitutional Law history, U.S. Rule of Law and Separation of Powers, and U.S. Refugee and Asylum law with professionals from countries in the Balkans, Caucuses, Central Asia and Eastern Europe, most recently Poland, Ukraine and Hungary, and legal professionals from Mali, South Africa, Cameroon, Nigeria and other Subsaharan African countries.
These programs were facilitated by Global Ties Alabama through the Congressional Office for International Leadership, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). Global Ties Alabama is a 501(c)(3) whose mission is to promote international relationships through citizen diplomacy by coordinating multicultural events in Huntsville, providing information about immigration and naturalization services and by hosting international visitors to Alabama.
Climate change intensifies regular weather seasons. For example, when hurricane season begins, we see more intense Category 5 hurricanes rather than the historical Category 2 level hurricanes. In areas that experience regular monsoons, there are more intense rains and flooding. This was the case for Pakistan last month.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that over 7.6 million people have been displaced by the recent floods brought on by climate change. During the evacuations of Afghans over the past year, Pakistan welcomed many Afghan refugees into their country. So, those affected by this climate disaster included Pakistani residents and refugees. One early report by the UNHCR estimates that 1.3 million Afghan refugees are in Pakistan and over 400,000 were in the districts most hard hit, and more recent reports estimate that the number is more likely to be twice that.
When we look at the global trends for displacement, a term we use to describe people who must leave their homes and are unsure if they can return, the numbers are staggering. More and more people are being displaced, internally, by climate disasters. The Global Report on Internal Displacement published that, in 2021, 23.7 million people were displaced due to climate-related disasters versus 14.4 million people displaced from conflict and violence. Often, we hope that people can return to their homes once the weather stabilizes and the flood recedes. There is a growing concern, however, that more and more people will find it harder to return home and rebuild, making them climate refugees.
Anytime people are forced to leave the safety of their homes, it is devastating. Recognizing the role climate plays in this is essential to all of us, globally.
Birmingham, AL - Alabama Interfaith Refugee Partnership (ALIRP) hosts its 1st Annual Celebration on November 5th, 2pm-5pm at Trinity West Homewood - 914 Oak Grove Road, Homewood 35209. This free, family-friendly event celebrates ALIRP and its partnership with refugees and asylum seekers across Birmingham by highlighting the many cultures, passions, and talents of their partners through song, dance, food, a silent auction, and the opportunity to learn about ALIRP and its Partners.
The ALIRP Celebration also kicks off the annual fall giving campaign. Last year the fall campaign raised more than $25,000 to help refugees both in Birmingham and globally.
ALIRP is a 501c3 non-profit organization based in Birmingham, AL. The Alabama Interfaith Refugee Partnership envisions a world where all refugees and asylum seekers find safety and live with dignity. ALIRP is a diverse coalition of community members, interfaith religious leaders, and laypersons, as well as representatives of other community groups, who have come together to support refugees and asylum seekers through direct assistance, education, and advocacy.
ALIRP offers three levels of support to refugees and asylum-seeking individuals and families:
Learn more at alirp.org. To donate to the fall fundraising campaign, visit ALIRP's GoFundMe page. ALIRP t-shirts are available for sale through the Bonfire fundraising platform.