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“Beautifully done.” - Richard Branson, Founder & CEO, Virgin, 2009

Quotes from participants at Davos 2018:

A brief selection from this year. 

“You will not be the same afterwards.” Marvin O’Quinn, Senior Executive Vice President and COO, Dignity Health

“It is hard for anyone to fully empathise with the plight and journey of another person, especially for a privileged person to understand a refugee’s daily life, but A Day in the Life of a Refugee does that!” Abigail Noble, CEO, The ImPact

“This is the closest you can get to empathising with an unthinkable experience that is an everyday reality for so many.” Tiffany Yu, founder, Diversability

“Most impactful experience in Davos.” John Schultz. Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, HPE

“It is the right way to start the Forum meeting. Putting harsh realities at the centre.” Igor Perisic. LinkedIn Corporation

“Very powerful. Deeply disturbing.” Diana Farrell, JP Morgan Chase Institute

“Don’t come to Davos and miss this experience.” Richard E Besser. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

“This experience will change your life.” Emily Gustaffson-Wright. Brookings Institute

“One of the most profound things I’ve done in my life, and definitely at Davos.” Privahini Bradroo. CEO and Co-Founder, BlueOak.  Co-Chair, World Economic Forum Council on Advanced Materials

“This gives you a small but significant glimpse into the human side, the personal side, of refugee issues. You can never think of the issue in detached numbers and policies ever again.” Eulvia Motresor WEF

“This is an imperative for all of us who are privileged to be here.” Jacquelyn MacLennan. White & Case LLC

“It’ll change your perspective in ways no news report can.” Simon Shuster. Time Magazine.

“The realisation that this is a mere shadow of the real suffering makes the imperative to get involved even more acute.” Valerie Wayne Rockefeller, Trustee, Chair, Rockefeller Brothers Fund

“Heartbreaking, but critical not to avoid knowing their pain.” Dr Pamela Collins. Director of Global Mental Health, University of Washington

“Powerful, life changing experience that will take you out of your comfort zone and into the reality of too many of our fellow brothers and sisters. War and displacement is a stain on humanity BUT we CAN do something about it. Even small actions from a lot of people make a BIG change.”  Dr Tine van Bortel. Senior Research Associate in Public Health, University of Cambridge

“An experience that cannot be remembered with words, but with tears and hearts.” Claudia Dill. Zurich Insurance Group

“This will make you re-think the whole refugee situation and make you wonder, what am I, and what is the media, doing, that I lost sight of this crisis?”  Tom van “Baardewiih

It’s a life changing experience that will change your heart permanently.” Caroline Bastenie

“No words to describe it.” Verena Kuhn. WEF

“Do it early in the program and keep it in your head afterwards.” Pablo Jenkins. Ideas en Accion

“Far too easy to forget what is happening outside our bubble… Hope we can have a high impact.” Mark Mueller-Eberstein.


Feedback from earlier years:

‘Everything I came here to say you have just experienced’. Filippo Grandi. United Nations Commssioner for Refugees, post refugee simulation in Davos.

“I’ve had the privilege of meeting refugees in many countries around the world and wondered how best to bring their stories to life for others. This simulation is like being there. It’s the most powerful way I’ve seen to enter into the world of refugees, empathise with their suffering and renew commitment to bring hope.” Kevin Jenkins. President / CEO World Vision International.

“Brings home the reality of refugee suffering and need better than any other experience.. a compelling call to action.” Hilary Pearson, President, Philanthropic Foundations Canada

“75 minutes to open your eyes and your heart.” Thomas Gass, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs in UN DESA, with Antonio Gueterres’ office

“I work in international development on issues related to refugees and identity and there is simply nothing I’ve done or experienced that carried such impact. Thank you, thank you.” Dakota Gruener, Executive Director, ID2020

“I came with a skeptical mind – that it would feel superficial. But it was very impactful and a powerful experience.” Karabi Acharaya, RWJ Foundation

“Must do, so real and has changed my perspective and deepened my understanding of the situation we need to solve.” Demet Mutlu, Founder & CEO, Trendyol

“Everyone should step into the shoes of a refugee – this experience brings a glimpse of a life of a refugee – and it brings awareness of the life most of people have no idea about. Thank you!” Olivier Nkengurutse, Co-founder, In-for Refugee

What would you tell people considering doing the simulation? “I opted not to do it for years – just do it today. Find time.” Matthew Allen,

“Make time to experience this simulation. One of the most impactful sessions in Davos. Don’t make excuses not to participate.” Rob Torres, Managing Director, Travel, Google

“An incredibly moving, terrifying and critical experience. Thank you for the very thoughtful and experienced staff.” Scarlet Cronin, Senior Director, Partnerships and Philanthropy, Tent Foundation/MasterCard

“This is about being a human being first, this is not about politics, religion, money; if you can’t feel empathy or a move to action, you have no heart.” Wan-Lae Cheng

“This experience will bring to life the stories and experiences behind countless media stories, yet the stories told in media fail to reflect the pain and struggle.” Joshua Von Fahge, INSEAD Student attending with Accenture

“Powerful, important, essential. Please take time to participate and then… do something tangible to help.” Patrick Walker, Director of Media Partnerships for Europe, Middle East and Africa, Facebook

“You need to feel it to truly understand what refugees are going through. A life-changing experience.” Isabel Mestres, Union for International Cancer Control

“I’ve served in warzones but even that didn’t, and probably can’t, prepare for the perspective of a refugee. Let this experience in.” Brian Ballard, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Upskill

“Our children, our families, our world is at risk. We are in this together. The one word to describe my feeling after this experience is connection.” Corinna E. Lathan, Chair of the Board and CEO, AnthroTronix Inc

“This was the most meaningful and impactful thing I did at WEF. You won’t forget this experience.” Ned Tozun, CEO, d.light

“It touches your soul and your moral values. A must do.” Andrea Bandelli, Executive Director, Science Gallery International

“Too important to miss. Do you care to improve the state of the world? Go!” Camilla Hagen Soerli, Project Executive, Canica

“A profound experience that reminds us of the plight of millions of forcibly displaced people.” Ban Ki-moon, former UN Secretary-General

“Beautifully done.” Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Management Ltd.

“We have fought hard, globally, to keep ourselves safe through the economic crisis…We need to fight equally hard to make this world safe for its refugees and IDPs.”  António Guterres, former UN High Commissioner for Refugees

“It is important to have such an event in the context of Davos as a reminder of the bottom billion to Davos participants…”  Sir John Holmes, Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator

“Even for experienced aid-workers, this will make you think.” John Sayer, Oxfam

“Everyone should do this. It will change the way you see refugees.”  Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia

“A remarkable experience… One is moved, emotionally, out of normality, to a better understanding of the fears and dangers present for refugees.” Jeffrey Sachs, Director, Earth Institute, Colombia University

“The bit of Davos I will remember for the rest of my life.” Sir John Gieve, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University

“Humbling, inspiring, thought-provoking and motivating – a truly remarkable experience. Thank you!” Jane Nelson, Director of Harvard Kennedy School’s Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative

“The simulation was as close to real as I could imagine. I now have a much greater appreciation for the needs of displaced people and will be an advocate for sending the message.” Dan Brutto, President, UPS International

“Should be mandatory for all WEF participants.”   Mallika Sarabhai, winner of 2009 World Economic Forum Crystal Award

“Thank you…for the very powerful experience you gave so many of us…it was very well done – unsettling, authentic, transformative.” Amy E Roth, International Justice Mission

“The effect is extraordinary…a very powerful way of communicating what refugees go through daily…” Robert Elliott, Chairman & Senior Partner, Linklaters

“I don’t know how anyone could do this experience and not come out morally obligated to do something about it.” Paul Ellingstad, Director, Office of Global Social Innovation, HP

“It may be the most important session you attend at Davos” Doug Frye, President & CEO | Global, Colliers

“Most impactful experience I’ve had in a long time, with real inspiration to take action. Don’t miss this!” Mack Gill, President, Global Services, Sungard

“Thank you on behalf of the 43 million refugees.” Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Chairman of the Board, Nestle

“A lifetime chance to experience an interactive simulation of what life is actually like as a refugee in one of the camps, designed and delivered by people who’ve been through it.” Peter Lacy, Managing Director for Sustainability Service Group, Accenture

“Everyone at WEF should be required to do this.” Josh Spear, Founding Partner, Undercurrent.

“I’m most moved by the incredible dedication of this group of people to give a voice to the 43.3 million.” Hans Hickler, CEO for Agility, Asia Pacific Region

“It was an honor to be part of it. Thank you for inviting me!” Marilia Bezerra, Commitments Director, Clinton Global Initiative

“Very impressive simulation, which I will never forget… A real eye-opener. We all need to engage ourselves to influence political leaders and others to stop such violence.” Markus Neuhaus, CEO PwC Switzerland

“Thank you for a vivid and real experience of fright, chaos. The motivation for change must be reinforced.” Margareta Wahlström, Assistant Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, ISDR

“A must do. An important experience. The need to change the world is even more urgent. I am inspired to change the world.” Dr Iqbal Surve, Founder & Chariman, Sekunjalo Group, Sekunjalo Investments Ltd South Africa

“A must. It was my priority in the Davos Programme.” Virginie Moron, Deputy CEO, Eurazeo

“Extraordinary! We need to care and do something about it right now.  Incredibly moving.” Mary Stromitis, Qualcomm

“If there is one session you may not miss at WEF, then it is Refugee Run! Thank you for sharing with us the daily reality of so many people.” Olivier Steimer, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Banque Cantonale Vaudoise

“If you feel for ‘improving the state of the world’, the Refugee Run is the thing to experience in order to seal your commitment.” Xavier Mesnard, Partner, A.T. Kearney SAS France

“A truly eye-opening session. It was a pause for deep reflection. I hope we can help in the future and will do all to make that happen.” Peter Lacy, Managing Director for Sustainability Service Group, Accenture

“It will change the way you read news and see TV” Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Chairman and former CEO, Nestle

“More valuable and important than 113 WEF sessions combined.” Beatrice Weder di Mauro, Member of the Board of Directors, UBS

“Must do!” Imtiaz Patel, Multichoice, South Africa

“Prioritise the time [to do this]” Rob Whitfield, Chief Executive, Westpac Banking Corporation Australia

“Profoundly effective, the simulation brings to life the extraordinary hardships faced by refugees in a way which compels you to want to help in any way you can.”  Laura Barneby, Global Advocacy Manager – Global Platforms, Unilever

“Brings our WEF debate down from 35,000 feet to ground zero” Piers Cumberlege, former Head of Partnership, World Economic Forum

“”Thank you for such an incredible and moving experience. I feel hugely compelled to take action… And an immense sense of responsibility that I need to go and do something. Thank you very much for letting me experience that.” Justin Keeble, Managing Director, Accenture | Sustainability Services, Europe, Africa and Latin America

“Unbelievably powerful simulation on Syria. All WEF participants should go. Vital injection of humanity into politics.” Gemma Mortensen, Executive Director, Crisis Action

“There’s only so much you can do through talking. Even the best speaker you will probably forget. But an experience like this you will remember.” Gilbert Probst, MD of WEF and Head of Open Forum

“A degree in peace and conflict studies never challenged me in such a visceral way as this.” Martin Bekker, Head Strategy, Royal Bafokeng Administration, South Africa. (MSc MA)

“Outstanding. More people need to experience this.” Dr Andrew White, Associate Dean for Executive Education, Saïd Business School, Oxford University

“Truly moving and educational.” Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook

“Moving and incredible. I will remember it forever.”  Raju Narisetti, Managing Editor, Washington Post

“I am alive, but I’ll never be the same again.” Nathalie Chalmers. Senior Project Manager, Circular Economy, Environmental Initiatives, World Economic Forum

“This reminds us why it matters.” Kelly Clements, Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR

“This will change your entire perspective of those whose images you have only seen in the media.” Al Jazeera reporter

“It is more than a simulation. It’s a life changing experience,” Ryan Erenhouse, Senior Business Leader, MasterCard

“What an incredible experience. I can’t believe this is the reality of 45 million people. Keep up the good work and for raising awareness.” Eva Fowler, Senior Project Associate, New Vision for Agriculture initiative (NVA), WEF

“Thank you for this experience. It gives you an idea about what it means to be a refugee, maybe much more than we can do with our reporting on the situation.” Katrin Else Eigendorf, Reporter, Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (German Media)

“It is very important for ‘corporate guys’ to experience that life! Only then can we do something!”  Agostino Galvagni, COO & Exec Committee Member, Swiss Reinsurance Company Ltd Switzerland

“Powerful, moving. I hope we can all find a way to help. Thank you.” Tiffany Ann Kary, Writer and Reporter, Bloomberg News USA

“More events of this format could connect people and leaders on their hearts (not on their number-oriented brains) and once connected emotionally then we are actually really able to change the state of the world.” Veronika Schubring, Novartis

“Insightful and devastatingly making aware!” Mr Paul Bulcke, CEO, Nestle

“Very powerful experience” Mogens Lykketoft, President of the UN General Assembly

“Inspired, integrated, empowered. A real must experience that drives the will to improve the state of the world.” Christine Diamente, Head of CSR, Alcatel Lucent

“Amazing. Those emotions need to come alive for more people. Then change can occur.” Doug Frye, President & CEO | Global, Colliers

“A new reality brought very close. What part do I play in this problem?” Richard Gillies, Director of Plan A, CSR & Sustainable Business, Marks and Spencer

“One of the most profound experiences anyone can have at Davos WEF.” Betsy Harrington, African Community Center

“Excellent and stimulating.” Richard Haythornthwaite, Chairman of Board of Directors, Mastercard

“The experience was intense and very emotional. It reminded me of the challenges that people face on a daily basis and motivated me to think about what I personally might be able to do to change someone’s life – possibly more. Thank you.” Ms Marne Levine, VP Global Public Policy, Facebook

“Another extraordinary awakening to situations and to lives that are so far removed. Your efforts bring their experiences closer, cultivate empathy and inspire action.” Margaret Miller Perlis, Forbes

“This experience was the most inspiring and challenging part of my Davos 2013.” Vijay Poonoosamy, Vice President International & Public Affairs, Chair – IATA Industry Affairs Committee, Etihad Airways

“Despite having lived in Calcutta for 23 years, I was not prepared for the shock to my comfort zone. Much needed.” Mr JP Rangaswami, Chief Scientist, Salesforce

“A tremendous experience. Very powerful and moving. A call to action.” Peter Tufano, Dean, Saïd Business School

“This is an oasis of insight and learning amid Davos. Your heart will be touched. Your responsibility is to do something about it.” Jonathan Reckford, Chief Executive Officer, Habitat for Humanity, USA

“This simulation should be a mandatory price of admission for all who come to Davos.” Neal Keny-Guyer, CEO Mercy Corps USA

“Most insightful 75mins I have ever spent. You can make a difference if you want. The world needs help.” Douglas Anderson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Carlson Wagonlit Travel France

“Excellent, impactful” Muriel Penicaud, Ambassador of France for International Investment; Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Invest in France Agency

“It’s important to remember why we do what we do and this helps bring it home. The discussion that is sparks is as important as the simulation itself.” Amanda Gardiner, VP, Sustainability & Social Innovation, Pearson

“Absolutely brilliant concept, massive thank you, should be compulsory for all WEF delegates!” Margaret Batty, Director of Global Policy and Campaigns, WaterAid

“Very worthwhile. Eye opening.” Garry Lyons, Chief Innovation Officer, MasterCard

“I have filmed at Davos for many years. This is by far the best thing I have shot at Davos.” Neil Bennett, CNN Cameraman

“Go for it, it puts you in the right mindset for your Davos days. Go at the beginning of the summit.” Diane Davoine, Project Lead for the Centre of Interaction Excellence, World Economic Forum

“Do this. It seems simple and it is. But the impact is huge and truly meaningful.” Elyse Lipman, Business Innovation & Entrepreneurship Portfolio, World Economic Forum

“If I could put the entire population of the Annual Meeting through this, I would. Experiencing is believing. Believing is action.” Katherine Brown, Global Leadership Fellow, Practice Lead – Investors Industries, World Economic Forum

“Absolutely do this activity. The simulation was very helpful. The talks afterwards had the biggest impact.” Jeffrey H. Donahue, Chairman of the Board, Welltower

“One of the most compelling ways of telling an incredibly complex story. Embrace the need to drive understanding and be part of the solution.” Rose Beaumont, Group Head, Communications, MasterCard Europe

“Everyone should experience this at least once.” Sare Davutoglu, Wife of the Prime Minister of Turkey

“It is a must at Davos to do this to kick start a way of thinking when most of us will only read about it.” Patricia de Borchgrave d’Altena

“Everyone at Davos should experience this for a dose of reality. Prioritise it in your schedule.”  Elaine Weidman Grunewald, Vice-President, Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility, Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson

“You’ll gain a greater understanding of what a refugee goes through in an hour than what you could gain from years of study.” Lori Wachs, Hedge fund manager and President of Cross Ledge Investments

“This is the most important thing you will do at Davos this year. The emotional connection with the crisis is far more lasting than data and rhetoric.” Valerie Casey, Founder & Executive Director, The Designers Accord

“It was incredible and life changing.” Stephanie Linnartz, Global Executive Vice-President, Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer, Marriott International Inc.

“It was a great experience for me as a journalist, who is reporting from war and crises areas all over the world. Very close to reality!” Udo Harnach, Producer, ZDF TV

“Not to miss Davos experience. Should be required to all participants and world leaders.” Julie Smolyansky, CEO, Lifeway Foods

“It was an incredibly powerful and confronting experience and has certainly prompted us to consider what more we can do personally and as a firm to help address this tragic situation.” Gideon Moore, Firm-wide Managing Partner, Linklaters LLP

“A must do for anyone attending Davos. But more than that for people who make decisions connected to policies around refugees.” Carolyn Everson, VP, Global Marketing Solutions, Facebook

“This experience has the power to transform people’s thinking and attitude! Thanks!” Wolfgang Jamann, Secretary-General and CEO, Care International


Below: Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg, undertaking Crossroads’ refugee simulation

Refugee Run

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do we offer simulations? How are they written? Who is involved?

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do we offer simulations? How are they written? Who is involved?

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We are very grateful to our sponsors for 2018.


We are very grateful to our sponsors for 2018.

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Flickr Images

Refugee simulations at Davos:

20172016, 2014, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009

Poverty simulations at Davos: 2015 , 2013

Flickr Images

Refugee simulations at Davos:

20172016, 2014, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009

Poverty simulations at Davos: 2015 , 2013

Press Information

Press Information

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Press from previous years

Video, audio and print press from earlier years at Davos.

Press from previous years

Video, audio and print press from earlier years at Davos.

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Crossroads’ Background Story & Services

Crossroads’ Background Story & Services

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