Wednesday, June 20, 2007

UN World Refugee Day

Today the United Nations brought the plight of the world's 40 million estimated refugees. I tuned into the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Mr. António Guterres,web video statement to see what he had to say.

As a person that lives away from my home country I found one of his statements particularily poignent in explaining the difference between people like me and refugees: "In an age of increasing globalization, when more and more people are on the move, refugees are not unique because they are away from home. What sets them apart is that they cannot return there."

Today people do not just flee persecution and war but also injustice, exclusion, environmental pressures, competition for scarce resources and all the miserable human consequences of dysfunctional states.

The task facing the international community in this new environment is to find ways to unlock the potential of refugees who have so much to offer if they are given the opportunity to regain control over their lives.

So many companies are scrambling today to innovate 'base of the pyrimid' strategies - that is to figure out how to engage with the worlds fastest growing markets - those in developing countries. I have yet to hear of any company that has devised strategies for engaging with refugee communities. Any out there?

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