Today we have a little homework. No contact with your elected officials requested.

Today we have a collection of refugee focused Ted Talks. All are outstanding in their own way. Some are motivating and some are moving but all will increase your knowledge on this important topic. Please take the time to watch at least one today but save this list and watch them all over the next few days.

The refugee crises is a test of our character. – Sixty-five million people were displaced from their homes by conflict and disaster in 2016. It’s not just a crisis; it’s a test of who we are and what we stand for, says David Miliband — and each of us has a personal responsibility to help solve it. In this must-watch talk, Miliband gives us specific, tangible ways to help refugees and turn empathy and altruism into action.

A boat carrying 500 refugees sunk at sea. The story of two survivors – Aboard an overloaded ship carrying more than 500 refugees, a young woman becomes an unlikely hero. This single, powerful story, told by Melissa Fleming of the UN’s refugee agency, gives a human face to the sheer numbers of human beings trying to escape to better lives … as the refugee ships keep coming …

Let’s help refugees thrive, not just survive. – Today’s refugee crisis is the biggest since World War II, and it’s growing. When this talk was given, 50 million people had been forcefully displaced from their homes by conflict and war; now the number is 65.3 million. There were 3 million Syrian refugees in 2014; now there are 4.9 million. Inside this overwhelming crisis are the individual human stories — of care, growth and family, in the face of lost education, lost home, lost future. Melissa Fleming of the UN’s refugee agency tells the refugees’ stories — and asks us to help them rebuild their world.

Two nameless bodies washed up on the beach. Here are their stories. – When two bodies wearing identical wetsuits washed ashore in Norway and the Netherlands, journalist Anders Fjellberg and photographer Tomm Christiansen started a search to answer the question: who were these people? What they found and reported in Norway’s “Dagbladet” is that everybody has a name, everybody has a story and everybody is someone.

Why the only future worth building includes everyone. – A single individual is enough for hope to exist, and that individual can be you, says His Holiness Pope Francis in this searing TED Talk delivered directly from Vatican City. In a hopeful message to people of all faiths, to those who have power as well as those who don’t, the spiritual leader provides illuminating commentary on the world as we currently find it and calls for equality, solidarity and tenderness to prevail. “Let us help each other, all together, to remember that the ‘other’ is not a statistic, or a number,” he says. “We all need each other.”

Our refugee system is failing and here’s how we can fix it. – A million refugees arrived in Europe this year, says Alexander Betts, and “our response, frankly, has been pathetic.” Betts studies forced migration, the impossible choice for families between the camps, urban poverty and dangerous illegal journeys to safety. In this insightful talk, he offers four ways to change the way we treat refugees, so they can make an immediate contribution to their new homes. “There’s nothing inevitable about refugees being a cost,” Betts says. “They’re human beings with skills, talents, aspirations, with the ability to make contributions — if we let them.”

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