Monday, 27 April 2009

Citizenship Ceremony

Yesterday I was the speaker at another of the Liverpool Citizenship Ceremonies. These ceremonies are run by the Registrars bit of the City Council. They are done on behalf of the Home Office but have their own flavour and have been developed really well by the registrars team. Each ceremony has a "dignitary" which yesterday was me. The role is to do a short speech and hand out the certificates and gifts (in our case a Liverpool medal). It's a great thing to do but brings its frustrations too. Yesterday there were people who had been born in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and Sudan and I had to restrain myself from launching into a long discussion about each. Having worked for the Refugee Council and for Save the Children in the past, I still turn to the foreign pages and check the news on countries I have written about years ago. Of course to start off on those subjects has the potential to turn a happy occasion into a rather depressing one. But it did occur to me that it would have been great to hear more from some of the new citizens about their particular journey so far (not just in geographical terms).

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