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World Refugee Day 2021

This year is the 20th anniversary of World Refugee Day being celebrated around the world! Here in Pittsburgh, we’re celebrating virtually on June 18, highlighting stories from our local refugee and immigrant neighbors.

We’ll also have lots of ways for you to engage through recipes, a marketplace of local artisans, kids’ activities, and ways to take action. We hope that you’ll find ways to support refugees and immigrants in our community and help make Pittsburgh a place where we all can belong!

Established in 2001


Established by the United Nations and first celebrated in 2001, World Refugee Day is held every year on June 20, commemorated by communities and organizations across the globe.  On this day, people around the world take time to recognize and applaud the contribution of forcibly displaced people throughout the world.

Locally in Pittsburgh, we hold an event on June 18 and combine celebrations with Immigrant Heritage Month, to celebrate and recognize the thousands of refugees and immigrants that call our city home, showcasing the vibrance and value they contribute to our region. We love our refugee & immigrant neighbors, friends, and family!

Global Table

The Food Blog!

One of our favorite ways to celebrate and support our refugee and immigrant neighbors is through their food. Now, we’re bringing the recipes to you! Learn how to make amazing food from around the world and read the stories of the immigrants who shared the recipe.


Arts, Crafts, & More!

Check out jewelry, crafts, art, leather goods, clothing, and more from local immigrant-owned businesses. These sellers from around the global make items inspired by their experiences, cultures, and traditions. Shop local to support these creative artisans and crafters! 

EAT local

Support Local Restaurants!

Every year, people have the opportunity to get lunch from several refugee and immigrant-owned restaurants at our World Refugee Day event in Market Square. This year, since we’re virtual, we’ve created a list of places offering delivery and takeout. Consider getting your lunch from one of these amazing global restaurants!

Turkish catering company making food at a table

How we're celebrating



We’ll start of the day with a Welcome message and some messages from local community leaders! Share how you’re celebrating with #WorldRefugeeDayPGH

Sharing Stories

Hear stories from local refugees and immigrants, sharing experiences, hopes, and dreams. Thanks to Sharing Our Story for providing some of the stories. 

Global Lunch

Check out recipes from around the world as refugees & immigrants share breakfast cuisine, as well as their stories. Make your own and share a photo with us!

Get Creative!

Check out some of the immigrant-owned businesses we’re featuring today and consider supporting them through your purchase! Then, watch videos from local artists and makers to learn more about their items and art.

Celebrating Pittsburgh’s Refugees

Listen as community leaders share about the value that refugees and immigrants bring to our city. Hear more stories from refugee & immigrant neighbors, and learn about their journeys and experiences.

Take Action

Get inspired and get involved! We’ll have several ways for you to show support for refugees and immigrants, both globally and here in our own community. 

Bhutanese Nepali dancers at World Refugee Day

Photos from Past Years

teens holding sign: Welcome to World Refugee Day

Celebrating Citizenship

View a citizenship ceremony from June 2020 in Pittsburgh for refugees.

Pittsburgh Loves refugees

Organizing Partners

World Refugee Day Pittsburgh is a joint effort of several organizations throughout the city. Led by Pittsburgh’s resettlement agencies, Jewish Family and Community Services (JFCS) and Acculturation for Justice, Access, and Peace Outreach (AJAPO), the city has been celebrating this event for many years. JFCS and AJAPO are joined by All for All, ARYSE, Center for Hearing & Deaf Services – PLAN, Global Wordsmiths, Hello Neighbor, Literacy Pittsburgh, Red Cross Greater Pennsylvania, and South Hills Interfaith Movement (SHIM) in planning, organizing, and putting on the event.

staff from organizing partners

JFCS serves the Greater Pittsburgh community supporting people through all of life’s changes and challenges. In addition to hosting Pittsburgh’s largest refugee resettlement program helping refugees settle in their new homes, services offered help families overcome food insecurity, professionals find new jobs, immigrants become citizens, vulnerable adults live fulfilling lives, seniors stay independent and community members find healing from trauma and bereavement. Learn more at


AJAPO’s aims to build–together with consumers–an amazing and self-sufficient refugee/immigrant community that contributes economically, socially, and spiritually to the civic life of Greater Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, while sustaining those aspects of their own traditional values and culture that strengthen families.

All for All
The All for All Coalition is an immigrant inclusion initiative powered by The Global Switchboard. They aim to connect people, organizations, and communities to actions that build a welcoming and inclusive region for all. Driven by collaboration with community and cross-sector partners, we aim to advance economic opportunity, break down barriers, and further immigrant inclusion across the Pittsburgh region. The All for All Coalition is guided by the Immigrant Community Blueprint, a comprehensive community-designed plan for Allegheny County. All For All
ARYSE supports immigrant and refugee youth to become prepared, engaged, and confident members of the Greater Pittsburgh community. The signature program of ARYSE is Pittsburgh Refugee Youth Summer Enrichment (PRYSE) Academy, a three-week summer program led by high school and college students for refugee and immigrant youth that combines academic classes, creative expression workshops, and civic engagement.
Center for Hearing & Deaf Services - PLAN

HDS’s Pittsburgh Language Access Network (PLAN) provides spoken language interpreting services to organizations and companies throughout the Greater Pittsburgh region. PLAN

Global Wordsmiths

Global Wordsmiths is a full-service language translation and interpretation services in the Greater Pittsburgh Area with a social mission to improve language access by donating profits and training volunteers.

Hello Neighbor

Hello Neighbor works to improve the lives of refugees and immigrants by matching them with dedicated neighbors to guide and support them in their new lives.

Literacy Pittsburgh
Literacy Pittsburgh creates better lives through learning. Recognized as a national leader in adult and family literacy, Literacy Pittsburgh is the largest provider of adult basic education in Allegheny County. Last year, Literacy Pittsburgh helped 5,100 individuals acquire reading, writing, math, English language, digital literacy and workforce skills so they may reach their fullest potential in life and participate productively in their communities.
Red Cross of Greater Pennsylvania

The Southwestern Pennsylvania Chapter serves Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Greene, Lawrence and Washington counties. counties, and also functions as the headquarters of the 61-county Greater Pennsylvania Region. Their services include disaster relief, service to armed forces, biomedical donations, training programs, and international services.


SHIM has been providing food, clothing and services to people in need in Pittsburgh’s southern suburban neighborhoods for around 50 years. Faced with unprecedented new levels of suburban poverty, SHIM is expanding its work to include more neighbors helping more neighbors in need. Together, with teams of dedicated volunteers, donors and partners, we’re working to reduce the devastating effects of suburban poverty among the working poor, unemployed, families, single parents, senior citizens, women, and the high concentration of refugee families in our service area.


The Food Blog

Amazing recipes from all over the world

Check out these delicious recipes from refugees and immigrants as they share their cultures, stories, and food.



AFGHANISTAN: AushakServings 24 dumplingsReady In: 2hGood For: Side Dish or Main DishIntroduction About this RecipeBy: Sameera Ibrahimi Aushak are dumplings filled with gandana, which is a kind of leek grown in Afghanistan. It can be hard to find in the US, but you can...

SPAIN: Cod “Ajoarriero” Style

SPAIN: Cod “Ajoarriero” Style

Spain: Cod "Ajoarriero" StyleServings 5-6Ready In: 30 minutes + soaking time Good For: DinnerIntroduction About this RecipeBy: Sergio Fandos (via Literacy Pittsburgh) Ajoarriero means mule drivers garlic, and was historically eaten in eateries and inns. Mule drivers...

countries celebrating worldwide

Immigrant Entrepreneurs in PGH

refugees resettled over 10 years in PGH

years of Global World Refugee Day

Join the celebration!

Location: Right here + on Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter

Event Hours:  All day



          upmc logo

Thank you to the Leveler Foundation and UPMC for your Gold level sponsorship.


highmark AHN logo

Thank you to Highmark / Allegheny Health Network for your Silver level sponsorship.


Thank you to the American Red Cross of Greater Pennsylvania and Dollar Bank for your Bronze level sponsorship.

Thank you to Giant Eagle for your contribution.

Contact Us

For more information about World Refugee Day or ways to get involved in supporting your local refugee and immigrant neighbors, contact us here.

Find out more about services offered to refugees and immigrants in Allegheny County

Immigrant Services & Connections (ISAC)