On February 19, 2018, the American Academy in Berlin welcomed the president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, David Miliband, as an Airbus Distinguished Visitor. Miliband, a former British foreign minister, is the author of Rescue: Refugees and the Political Crisis of Our Time, published by Simon & Schuster/TED Books this past fall.
Miliband’s eponymous lecture, “Refugees and the Political Crisis of Our Time,” addressed war zones in the Middle East, drought and conflict in African nations, and immigration politics in the United States. Throughout, Miliband sought to explain how a series of international crises, conflicts, climate change, and economic hardship have resulted in the displacement of 65 million people throughout the world: 20 million internationally, and 45 million internally in their own countries; a full half of them under age 18. “The traditional system for dealing with this crisis is broken,” Miliband said. His talk underscored the need for political courage when facing the refugee crisis, and emphasized looking at proven means of successful integration. “Work is the most effective way for refugees to integrate, learn social mores, and become successful citizens,” he said. Finally, Miliband argued that the world forged by Western leaders out of the ashes of the Second World War, built upon shared values and interests, now must remember those values as it looks to refugees’ futures as intertwined with those countries in which they arrive. “Their future is our future,” he said.
The evening closed with a Q&A period and reception. Coverage of the event in a piece about Miliband ran in Der Tagesspiegel.