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Dates of existence
World Refugee Year was proclaimed by the United Nations in 1959. At the time in Europe, there were 110,000 people in refugee camps. The Canadian Committee for World Refugee Year (CCWRY) functioned with an executive committee that brought individuals together from across the country. The chairman of the committee was Reuben C. Baetz, Assistant National Commissioner of the Canadian Red Cross. Muriel Jacobson, on leave from the Canadian Association for Adult Education, was the committee's National Director. The objectives of the national committee, and the 40 local committees that lent their support to the cause, were: "to focus attention on the refugee problem and to promote among the people of Canada a sympathetic interest in the plight of refugees throughout the world, through publicity, to help those participating organizations, which are already engaged in refugee work, to raise more money than they would normally be able to do so, and to establish a Central Fund to which contributions may be made for the United Nations refugee programs." The national committee was assisted by 45 voluntary national sponsoring organizations.
The CCWRY encouraged local committees to participate in special events like Austerity Week, special exhibitions of photographs of refugee camps, exhibitions of Ron Searle sketches, dramatic productions by the Barn Players and screenings of films such as Exposed and The Camp. The CCWRY also promoted Operation Eskimo, a special fund raising project involving a group of Inuit from Frobisher Bay who raffled off handicrafts to raise money for a rehabilitation centre. The CCWRY co-ordinated a number of fund-raising efforts including the sale of pins, pens and grip discs. Over $1,218,000 was raised for various projects. Most of this money was allocated to clearing designated camps in Europe, particularly in Germany and Austria. The remaining funds were allocated to vocational training, particularly for youth in the Middle East and projects underway in Hong Kong and mainland China.