Using Art to Explore the Refugee Experience

No Place for Hate Activity
The Courage to Leave painting

© Michela Buttignol

GRADE LEVEL: Middle School


In our world, we are experiencing the worst refugee crisis since World War II. More than 65 million people have been forced from their homes and one in every 122 people worldwide is currently a refugee, internally displaced, or seeking asylum. Roughly 11 million people from Syria have left their homes in search of safety and assistance since the country’s civil war began in 2011. The refugees have been fleeing civil war, persecution and terror—traveling at great lengths and great risk to survive. Instead of being met with compassion and open arms, many of today’s refugees have encountered closed doors and hateful rhetoric. Understanding the important role to influence hearts and minds, ADL partnered with the Creative Action Network, a network of over 10,000 artists worldwide, to launch the We Were Strangers Too campaign. Artists use their talents to tell stories of refugees from around the world and across time.

In this activity, students will:

  • Learn about the current refugee crisis.
  • Develop understanding and empathy for the refugee experience by reflecting on original art.
  • Explore how it feels to be a stranger in a new place or what it’s like to welcome others considered to be a “stranger.”