Founded in Athens in 2009 to address critical gaps in the reception and integration of migrants, refugees, and unaccompanied children, METAdrasi has provided more than 1.4 million interpreting sessions and helped support more than 12,000 unaccompanied migrant children. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, more than 80,000 refugees and migrants are "trapped" in Greece, including 4,100 unaccompanied minors. METAdrasi's efforts on behalf of migrants and refugees include training escort teams to provide unaccompanied children safe passage to accommodation facilities; professionalizing the role of interpreters, who serve a critical role at every stage of the asylum process; certification of victims of torture; education and integration services; and the provision of a protective safety net for minors.
"We are so grateful to receive the 2019 Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize at a time when urgent needs regarding the refugee situation continue to emerge," said METAdrasi founder, president, and CEO Lora Pappa. "This prize reaffirms the spirit of solidarity which is shared by so many citizens in Europe, in the United States, and beyond. It means that the international community is paying attention to the magnitude and the gravity of the complex humanitarian challenges that emerge from the management of mixed refugee flows. It recognizes the work of the grassroots, everyday efforts which are being taken to tackle those issues with innovation and practicality."
"The jury's selection of METAdrasi as the recipient of the 2019 Hilton Humanitarian Prize speaks to both a global humanitarian crisis and the power of local organizations to use their personal experiences and knowledge to develop innovative solutions to complex problems," said Hilton Foundation president and CEO Peter Laugharn. "METAdrasi is a remarkable example of a nimble organization that leads the charge in areas where essential services are lacking. Their belief that migrants and refugees are a valuable part of our shared future and our shared humanity, embodies the spirit of the prize and the work of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation."