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June 29, 2022

Speaker Pelosi and Ambassador Donnelly’s Grant Award Presentation to Community of Sant’Egidio

Wednesday, June 29, 2022 

The U.S. Embassy to the Holy See was proud to join Speaker Pelosi in U.S. support for Sant’Egidio. The U.S. State Department’s Julia Taft Refugee Fund awarded the Community of Sant’Egidio to help newly arrived refugees. We are honored to partner with you in support of vulnerable people everywhere.

“The United States is proud to be friends and supporters of Sant’Egidio. From vast conflict resolution and peace work across Africa, disease relief campaigns, anti-trafficking activities, and services for the most vulnerable among us, your work is truly sacred,” said Ambassador Donnelly.

“In one of my first weeks as Ambassador to the Holy See, I had the opportunity to visit you here and see firsthand the difference you are making in the lives of refugees.

Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine has created one of the fastest-growing humanitarian crises in decades. The Community of Sant’Egidio pivoted swiftly to come to their aid.  Your “Refugee Welcome Center” provides support to those arriving from Ukraine, most of whom are women and children.  I heard heartbreaking stories of people forced to flee in the middle of the night, suffer separation from their loved ones, endure tragedy.  I met a woman who gave birth to her child in the bomb shelter of a hospital as rockets exploded above her head.  Over and over, I heard these refugees say thank you. Thank you for offering me shelter, clothing, food, and assistance finding permanent housing.

The United States affirms our commitment to do whatever we can to support Ukraine and the Ukrainian people… as well as provide support for all those forced to flee their homes from violence and war. I would also like to say thank you.  We are deeply grateful for the actions of Sant’Egidio.

The United States not only supports Ukraine in its self-defense against Russia and rebuild the country later; but perseveres to address the global impacts of this war and the tremendous human suffering that we see everywhere in Africa, South Asia, and in Afghanistan. “The long tradition of the United States as a leader in refugee resettlement provides a beacon of hope for persecuted people around the world,” President Biden recently said.

That is why we praise Sant’Egidio’s efforts and hard work in bringing Afghan refugees and refugees from around the world to Italy through its humanitarian corridors. Partnering with the U.S. Department of State through the Julia Taft Fund will allow Sant’Egidio to help integrate the 50 highly-vulnerable refugees for whom Pope Francis negotiated a special Humanitarian Corridor in December 2021. The beneficiaries group includes victims of human trafficking, stateless individuals, asylum seekers who had been stuck in the Cyprus UN buffer zone for months, Afghan families with special needs children, and single mothers and their minor children.

I am proud to be here today with my friend, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is united with me in the United States’ strong commitment to refugees, to award this grant from the U.S. State Department’s Julia Taft Refugee Fund. This money will support an integration program for newly arrived refugees, sponsored by Pope Francis, as they concurrently seek asylum in Italy.

Sant’Egidio has committed to supporting these refugees through transit, resettlement, and integration, and to do it all, in the Sant’Egidio way, with compassion and respect for each refugee’s individual dignity. And the entirety of this grant would directly support these efforts.

On behalf of the United States government, we are honored to support the work of the Community of Sant’Egidio,” concluded Ambassador Donnelly.