‘Exeter City of Sanctuary: How is the city living up to this name?’
Trish Oliver, Lord Mayor of Exeter (May 2021 to May 2022), spent much of her young life on the Isle of Man and has maintained contact with friends and family there. Her last visit some years ago was at the height of the Syrian crisis, when she and Syrian refugee Baraa Kouja went there to raise awareness of the plight of the Syrian people and to raise money for the ‘From Syria with Love’ charity. They showed an art exhibition of pictures drawn by displaced children in Al Albra Camp in Lebanon – with many people buying the pictures and every penny going to Al Albra camp.
Trish is glad to be raising money and having hands-on involvement during her Lord Mayoral year for Inclusive Exeter, a community group which promotes integration in Exeter between people of all cultures. Councillor Peter Holland, the previous Lord Mayor, aptly described the importance of Inclusive Exeter as being “the safety net under the safety net”. At the Vigil for Ukraine in Bedford Square on Sunday 27th February Phil Bialyk, Leader of Exeter City Council, reaffirmed that Exeter is a City of Sanctuary and would do all it could to assist Ukrainian refugees
Trish will talk in a personal capacity about the City of Sanctuary initiatives in Exeter with which she has been involved, including the support provided to Afghan citizens evacuated after the fall of Kabul last year, and the plight of displaced Syrians in Lebanon. She will also discuss the differences between ‘migrants’, ‘asylum seekers’ and ‘refugees’, and the ways to support and include them in our communities.