An unprecedented number of people—65.6 million people around the world today—have been forcibly displaced. This movement is often violent, uprooting communities and creating more than 22.5 million refugees. Survival is the singular focus for those displaced by genocide, war crimes, or other violence. Disconnected from the physical home, cultural contexts shift and rupture.
So what makes us who we are when we are no longer “home”?
The Armenia program partnered with On the Move—a series of Folklife Festival programs exploring how American culture has been shaped by the movement of people to and within the United States—and the American Anthropological Association to explore the role of cultural heritage during forced displacement, with a focus on the ways it builds resilience and ensures survival. The collaboration, Cultures of Survival, is a series of narrative sessions featuring Armenian participants and others with similar histories of forced displacement to share their stories and discuss how they’ve drawn on their heritage—specifically language, music, craft and food—not only to survive, but also to thrive in new communities.
The Cultures of Survival series was made possible with support from ANCA Endowment Fund #KeepThePromise and Aurora Humanitarian Initiative.