Public discussion held to raise awareness of refugee crisis

02 December 2015

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) last night (December 1) hosted a public discussion with the aim of raising wider awareness of the Syrian refugee crisis and to develop impactful solutions.

The ‘Ethics, Responsibility and the Syrian Refugee Crisis’ event was part of The Only Way is Ethics, an eight-day festival of ethics across Glasgow.

Moderated by Dr Alec Wersun, Senior Lecturer in GCU’s Glasgow School for Business and Society, the event featured a panel including Hugh McLachlan, GCU Professor of Applied Philosophy; Flutura Shala, Head of Funding Development at the Scottish Refugee Council; Rosie Oglesby, Head of International Disaster Relief at Business in the Community; Annie Wells, Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Glasgow Provan, Syrian refugee Munir Emkideh and GCU student volunteer Jade O'Neil.

The panellists discussed the moral responsibilities and duties we have with regard to Syrian refugees, their rights and appropriate responses to their situations.

Ms Shala explained that there have been over 25,000 refugees in Scotland since 2000 and that Scotland would take in a proportion of the 20,000 Syrian people coming to the UK over the next five years. She said that “conflicts are now very complex”, with specific obligations and responsibilities coming from each circumstance rather than there being a solution for everyone.

Ms Oglesby said that it was “bad for business” not to show “shared values”, and described the importance of business skills, products and services to helping refugees.

GCU student Jade O’Neil examined the harsh realities of life as a refugee fleeing persecution. “People are happy to be here because they feel safe. Many don’t make the journey. What is important is that this is not a choice for these people.”

Working with Scottish universities, the Scottish Government and Universities Scotland, GCU aims to contribute to find potential solutions to some of the issues facing refugees who settle in Scotland and elsewhere.