Corporate Citizenship and the Global Refugee Crisis
Ban Ki-moon, eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations, once said, “Migration is an expression of the human aspiration for dignity, safety, and a better future.” The more than one million migrants and refugees that have recently streamed into Europe from the Middle East and Northern Africa hold those very aspirations, even while they face danger and loss. They number among more than 65 million refugees, asylum-seekers, and internally displaced persons whose “strength, courage and perseverance” we commemorate each June 20th on World Refugee Day.
Europe’s humanitarian community faces substantial difficulties in managing this growing crisis. NGOs and governments alike have a pressing need for operations management, platform development, and data analysis support in order to deliver aid to the vulnerable populations arriving across the continent.
Over the last two years through our Impact Grants, volunteerism, internships, and other initiatives, IBM has supported organizations working to ease the way forward for migrants and refugees across Europe. Our grants include mobile apps for doctors to capture health data, and data strategy consulting for organizations expanding to meet the need. IBM employees, some with relatives in migrant or refugee status, team up as volunteers to help families adjusting to new homes in Europe and the United States – providing mentoring, language learning, and work coaching. We help our employees understand volunteering at time of crisis and disaster through a free online course, which is open to anyone. Our recent white paper explains more – find it in the Disaster Relief and Resiliency section of the Responsibility at IBM website.
IBM continues to explore ways to help partner organizations anticipate and plan for future challenges. And we continue to honor the important work of these organizations and the courage of the people they serve.
Rebecca Curzon is Global Humanitarian Response Manager and Senior Program Manager with IBM Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs.
[Editor's Note: This blog originally appeared on the Citizen IBM Blog.]