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Honours presented at World Refugee Day Awards

Last update - Thursday, June 21, 2007, 00:00 By Metro Éireann

 A GARDA inspector promoting diversity, an asylum-seeking mother-of-five immersed in volunteerism, a pioneering nun, a legend of Irish youth soccer – these were just some of the people whose lives intersected at last night’s World Refugee Day Awards in Dublin, where they were honoured for their efforts towards inclusion.   

Organised by the African Refugee Network at the Africa Centre, the awards recognise the positive contribution that many asylum seekers and refugees make to the communities where they live, and highlight the efforts of individuals from local communities who extend the hand of friendship and solidarity to asylum seekers and refugees.

Last night’s event was the fifth annual celebration in Ireland, and saw 21 people nominated across six categories. The highest-profile winner was ex-Ireland soccer manager Brian Kerr, who achieved unprecedented success with Irish youth teams in the 1990s. He was honoured in the Sports & Leisure category for his promotion of soccer among migrant communities and his advocacy for using the sport as a tool for integration.

Juliet Amamure, a Ugandan mother of five, picked up the award in the Health & Welfare category. She lives in a ‘direct provision’ hostel for asylum seekers in Clondalkin, Dublin, where she volunteered to improve services. She has also become involved with AkiDwA (African Women’s Network) in sharing knowledge about African women in awareness-raising workshops.

A Special Judges’ Award was presented to two individuals – Sr Breege Keenan of the Vincentian Refugee Centre in Phibsborough, which was one of the first day-centres for asylum seekers in Ireland; and Khalid Ibrahim, originally from Iraq, who founded Arasi (Association of Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Ireland) in 1997 and has been active in numerous organisations since.

A member of the Garda – Inspector Colm Fox – was also recognised in the Community & Environment section for his work in developing diversity training within the force.

MC for the event was Orla Barry of Newstalk 106-108fm, and special guests were Professor Ali Mazrui of the Institute of Global Cultural Studies at Binghamton University SUNY, New York; Alice O’Flynn of the Social Inclusion Unit at the HSE; Anastasia Crickley, chairperson of the NCCRI; Jimmy McGee, RTÉ’s ‘voice of sport’; and Robin Hanan, chief executive of the Irish Refugee Council. The awards are supported by Dublin City Council, Integrating Ireland, the National Action Plan Against Racism (NPAR), the NCCRI, the Reception and Integration Agency, Sport Against Racism Ireland (Sari), Spirasi and UNHCR.

See the Galway Focus section on page 16 for more news about the World Refugee Day Awards 2007.

Full list of winners

Refugee/Asylum Seekers Community:
Reginald Oko-Flex Inya (Community & Environment)
Juliet Amamure
(Health & Welfare)
Yemisi Ojo
(Education & Youth)
Adil Jaber and Huda Jafer (Arts & Culture)
Patrice Manchongu
(Sports & Leisure)

Local Community:
Inspector Colm Fox (Community & Environment)
Helena Heagney and Brid Nicholl
(Health & Welfare)
Rita Canavan
(Education & Youth)
Yvonne Murphy
(Arts & Culture)
Brian Kerr
(Sports & Leisure)

Special Judges’ Awards:
Khalid Ibrahim
Sr Breege Keenan

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