BY ISN STAFF | September 20. 2017
On September 14, 2017, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA (JRS/USA) received the Anne Frank Award, given by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to an American person or organization who has demonstrated a body of work which confronts intolerance, anti-Semitism, racism or discrimination, while upholding freedom and equal rights.
JRS is being honored for their work improving access to education for refugees and others affected by war and conflict. Operating in over 50 countries around the world, and rooted in the Jesuit commitment to education, JRS offers quality educational programs and a variety of educational opportunities for refugees and displaced persons in refugee camps and in non-camp settings.
The award was introduced by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and accepted by JRS/USA Director of Mission Fr. Leo J. O’Donovan, S.J. In his remarks, Fr. O’Donovan quoted a passage from The Diary of Anne Frank:
“Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!”
“This, I think, is Anne Frank’s message, as a refugee, to the refugees of the world today – ‘our refugees,’” said Fr. O’Donovan. “JRS’s focus on education is an expression of our mission to recognize the dignity of each person, or as Anne so eloquently put it our ‘piece of the good news.’”
In gratitude for this honor, JRS/USA announced an essay competition open to any student enrolled in grades 9-12 at a Jesuit Schools Network member institution, in collaboration with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Jesuit Schools Network, and America Media.
As a refugee herself, and memorably in her remarkable diary, Anne Frank gave an example of courage, compassion, and hope that can serve as a beacon for refugees and displaced persons in our world today. Through this competition, JRS/USA hopes to create an opportunity to raise awareness and conversation around the lives of refugees and how Jesuit educated students can take action. The top essay chosen will be published in America: The Jesuit Review of Faith & Culture.
Essayists will answer the question: What can Anne Frank’s life and legacy teach us about how to address the current global refugee crisis – more than 65 million people displaced today globally, the highest levels World War II? How can you, as a young person, take action to address these challenges?
Winners will be announced in April 2018. Visit the JRS/USA website for additional contest details.