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Group Sets up Refugee Camp in Griffith Park

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Councilman Tom LaBonge welcomes Dr. Matthew Spitzer and Doctors Without Borders to Griffith Park (Photo by Emily Lerman for LAist)

Doctors Without Borders' "A Refugee Camp in the Heart of the City" opened yesterday in Griffith Park. Councilman Tom LaBonge joined Dr. Matthew Spitzer, MSF USA Board President, at a press conference yesterday morning, as Spitzer explained the treacherous journey across the Gulf of Amman that thousands of Somalians have taken to escape the lasting violence and civil war that continues to plague the country.

The exhibit aims to give visitors a deeper look into life inside a refugee camp, asking them to "imagine they are among the 42 million estimated people worldwide who have been forced to flee their homes and seek refuge from war or conflict". Spitzer says the goal is to "bring home and raise awareness of the worlds refugees and internally displaced persons." He hopes that by doing so, it will "put these issues into conversation and allow people to see the role they can play in the world". Experienced Doctors Without Borders aid workers guide visitors through a tour of the camp, explaining everything from the food distribution area to the vaccination tent and cholera treatment center. At the end of the exhibit, visitors can read stories of individual refugees from Somalia, Colombia, Iraq, Sudan and Thailand.

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The exhibit runs until October 27th and then moves down to the Santa Monica Pier from October 31st-November 2nd. Tours are free and last about 40-60 minutes. Visit their comprehensive Tour Blog for details about the event and to watch videos and interviews with aid workers.

Interested in working with Doctors Without Borders Overseas?
Thursday, October 23, 2008 - 7:00PM, Torrance Cultural Arts Center, 3330 Civic Center Drive, Torrence
Saturday, November 1, 2008 - 2:00PM, Ken Edwards Center, 1527 4th St, Santa Monica


Dr. James Orbinski, Former president of Doctors without Borders, at Town Hall Los Angeles

Dr. Orbinski, who accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999 on behalf of the organization, will join KCET's Val Zavala, for a Town Hall Discussion on October 28 at 7:30pm.
Fine Arts Theatre, 8556 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, Registration is required.