World Refugee Day 2021 in Missouri

Join agencies across the state as we celebrate and honor refugees around the world. World Refugee Day was held globally for the first time on June 20, 2001, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees—the United Nations treaty that essentially defined who a refugee is. Now each year June 20 is a day dedicated to honoring refugees and an “occasion to build empathy and understanding and to recognize their resilience in rebuilding their lives,” as explained on the UNHCR World Refugee Day site.

Agencies and service providers across the state have big plans for June 20, 2021, and they’re seizing the opportunity to embrace this year’s theme: Together we heal, learn and shine. Below are events happening across the state to commemorate this day.


St. Louis

Location: International Institute of St. Louis, 3401 Arsenal Street in the parking lot

Time: Sat. June 19, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

This event will mark the start of IISTL’s first-ever Festival of Nations season! Come and experience global wine tasting, live music performances, Sia’s Italian Ice food truck, picnic box food booths, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drink booths, a refugee quiz activity, a community art project, raffles, and plenty more.

With other events and activities sprinkled throughout the summer across the St. Louis area, expect more updates about in-person and virtual activities to come!

And if you’re feeling wary about COVID, they’ve got you covered with limited capacity, 2-hour timed-entry slots; sanitation stations throughout event space; masks required for everyone at the event when not eating/drinking; activities spaced out to allow social distancing.



Location: MU Healthcare Pavilion, 1701 W. Ash Street

Time: Saturday, June 19, 5 to 8 p.m.

All are welcome to join Columbia’s annual celebration hosted by Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri. The Refugee and Immigration Services team has been working with a group of refugee youth and community partners to plan this event, which will feature international foods and food trucks; socially distanced, family-friendly games; arts and crafts; and musical, dance and spoken word performances. Did I mention there will be cornhole and sack races and a scavenger hunt?! They’ve also partnered with the local health department to provide Pfizer vaccines to attendees age 12 and up. With the celebration falling on Juneteenth, organizers also wanted to recognize the significance of the holiday, so they’ll have informational booths and resources related to Juneteenth, as well! You’ll also find a resource fair with booths from local non-profits/agencies and other Catholic Charities programs along with STEM activities for kids.


Kansas City

Location: Della Lamb, 500 Woodland Ave.

Time: Saturday, June 19, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Della Lamb will be hosting an Impact Della Day where community sponsors, partners and other members from the community can sign up to volunteer at Della Lamb for the day. One of a series of service opportunities, these days are set aside as “perfect opportunities for you and/or your family, community of faith, or corporate group to come together and learn more about those we support,” as you’ll see on their Facebook page. Volunteers will have the opportunity to help Della Lamb tackle some important to-do’s while also learning about their many programs. They also have service options available for all different ages and interests. Click here to register for Impact Della Day.


Location: Northeast Kansas City Library, 6000 Wilson Rd.

Time: Saturday, June 19, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

JVS and Della Lamb are teaming up along with other local partners to host a vaccination event in celebration of World Refugee Day! They’ll be handing out bags with PPE as well as coloring books and crayons. Want to bring the kids? No problem! They’ll also have ice cream to occupy the young ones while parents get their vaccine and go through their prescribed 15-minute wait post-vax.


Curious to learn more about the origins of World Refugee Day as well as this year’s theme? Check out this link!

And now that you’re fully versed in all things World Refugee Day and sufficiently excited, you can help spread the word!

Use this toolkit to learn more about sharing information and getting involved.

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