Loading... please wait

Taiwan-Reyhanli Center for World Citizens | Mainstage


TECO Taipei Cultural and Economic Office e1635447357950 - Taiwan-Reyhanli Center for World Citizens | Mainstage

Chen-Yu Chiu, Director, Taiwan-Reyhanli Centre for World Citizens

The Syrian refugee crisis has displaced at least 5.6 million people since it began in 2011, many of whom sought refuge in neighboring countries. The Turkish city of Reyhanli welcomed thousands of refugees but tensions began to rise within the city itself and across borders. In response, Chen-Yu Chiu founded the Taiwan-Reyhanli Centre for World Citizens, built with the support of the government of Taiwan. The Centre intends to serve both Syrian refugees and Turkish locals, believing that what unites us is greater than what divides us.

Built to mirror the architecture of the now-destroyed Umayyad mosque in Damascus, the Center’s structure presents a common ground between Muslim Syrians and Turks. Chiu described how he worked with other non-governmental organizations to help Syrian women refugees learn fabric crafting to develop products for sale. They currently have several types of crafted items available for purchase, aided by a crowdfunding campaign in Taiwan. Hope, he said, is in our hands.

We believe that one day all the border walls will fall. On that day, no war can stop our children from moving around. Everyone will treat everyone equally, no matter your nationality, gender, religion, or language. On that day each of our children will become a world citizen.

Chen-Yu Chiu

Key takeaways & next steps:

  • The Syrian refugee crisis remains contentious throughout the region. Neighboring countries that have accepted refugees need more financial support to calm tensions.
  • Communities where refugees settle may find tension rising. Finding ways to promote cooperation and improve job skills may help the community better integrate.