“That experience is like a brand between my shoulder blades.”
Salvation Army Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Pho described his trauma as an asylum seeker from Vietnam in vivid terms during the first session of the Global Interactive Summit on Refugees and Displaced Peoples, hosted by the International Social Justice Commission of the Salvation Army. Today he is the National Director for Multicultural Ministries in the Salvation Army in Australia.
Throughout the day (or night, depending on your global location) today, Monday, 29 January, and tomorrow, Tuesday, 30 January, you can view the summit on Facebook on The Salvation Army International Social Justice Commission page, where sessions are live-streamed.
The purpose of the virtual gathering is, “to mobilize people of faith to engage with one of the greatest humanitarian crises of our age – refugees and displaced people. The focus of the summit will celebrate what has been achieved and reflect on lessons learned to guide future action.”
Other profound speakers joined the summit via video chat from locations like Hong Kong and London while the Director of the Salvation Army Social Justice Commission, Lt. Col. Dean Pallant, chaired the virtual gathering from New York City. Viewers included people from locations like Australia, North America, and the refugee hot spot, the Greek island of Lesbos.
Session One particularly revolved around the topic of “The Theology of Migration and Reception,” with a blend of theological, pragmatic, and personal insights from contributors like Dr. Laurelle Smith who works with U.N. committees and NGOs; Lieutenant-Colonel Samuel Pho mentioned above; the Rev. Dr. Sam Wells, author and vicar of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London; Dr. Russell Rook, partner with Good Faith Partnerships; and Lieutenant-Colonel Wendy Swan, who works in Hong Kong and Macau and recently completed her Ph.D. on a theology of protest.
Continuing 90-minute sessions are available to view live on the Facebook page today, 29 January, and tomorrow, 30 January. Topics include, “Reflecting on Experience,” “Working with Governments, Other Faith Groups, and NGOs in Refugee and Migration Situations,” “Camp and Community Based Responses,” “Church Based Responses,” and “Tackling Critical Issues.”
Sessions from the global interactive summit will also be archived and made available for viewing later.