The number of people displaced by conflict is at the highest level ever recorded – one in every 113 people on the planet is a refugee, asylum seeker or internally displaced. This year, a million refugees arrived in Europe alone. And Alexander Betts says “our response, frankly, has been pathetic.”
Indeed, the world’s inclination (generally speaking) is to look the other way. But Betts, a global authority on refugees and human migration, says the global economy has no choice but to address this humanitarian crisis – what he believes will be a defining issue of this century.
Betts, an Oxford University Professor of Forced Migration and International Affairs, spoke passionately and urgently about the failing refugee system at TED 2016. In between eruptions of applause from the capacity audience, he strongly challenged the assumption that refugees are burdens, asserting that companies and entire communities alike stand to benefit if they’re willing to reimagine a more sustainable approach to refugee assistance.
“There’s nothing inevitable about refugees being a cost,” says Betts, who also directs Oxford University’s Refugee Studies Center. “They’re human beings with skills, talents, aspirations, with the ability to make contributions – if we let them.”
Betts argues that the presence of refugees significantly boosts a local economy as a result of additional purchasing power, the creation of employment and the provision of human capital.
To hear more about Betts’ provocative solutions for fixing the broken refugee system, and how your organization or government should take action, contact us.