Monday, June 19, 2017

June 20 is World Refugee Day

#WithRefugees Maps for World Refugee Day

According to the United Nations, every minute 20 people leave everything behind to escape war, persecution, and terror.  Nearly 66 million people were forcibly displaced from their homes last year as refugees. 

A refugee is someone who fled his or her home country to escape a natural or man-made disaster, and June 20 is commemorated as “World Refugee Day” by the United Nations.

“Every year on June 20th, we commemorate the strength, courage, and perseverance of millions of refugees.  This year, World Refugee Day also marks a key moment for the public to show support for families forced to flee.”  People can sign the #WithRefugees petition to express solidarity.

The Ball State University Libraries GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) provides access to the latest cartographic resources depicting a number of current events and social topics that may be used for research and learning.  Maps and atlases provide visual representations of global issues like refugees.  The GRMC collects the latest cartographic resources in the news and provides digital access to these cartographic visual aids for students and others writing research papers or researching social topics.

Business Insider published “mesmerizing maps” (above click to enlarge) created by Earth TimeLapse that show where refugees are leaving and arriving.  The data for the maps was provided by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.  Each red dot represents 17 refugees arriving in a country, while yellow dots identify the home countries refugees are leaving.  The maps highlight the war-torn areas of the world from 2000 with the flow of refugees from Afghanistan, Congo, and Sudan to 2015 and the height of the Syrian crisis.

The New York Times regularly publishes maps covering current events.  A satellite map of Syria in 2012 (above) with the lights of major cities is compared to the same area in 2014 where many cities have been destroyed from the civil war.  The Times also created maps showing the European countries accepting refugees and a map of the United States showing where Syrian refugees were located from 2012 to 2015.

Some of the maps offer editorial views of the refugee crisis.  Forbes published a map identifying majority-Muslim countries with business ties to Trump businesses alongside majority-Muslim countries affected by the Trump “travel ban.”

The GRMC scours news sites to provide research assistance and access to the latest cartographic resources.  For more information about using maps as visual aids in research and creative writing, please contact the GRMC at 765-285-1097.

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