World Refugee Day: Eritrean coffee ceremony 

For World Refugee Day, the RSE will facilitate a traditional Eritrean coffee ceremony.

In some cultures (e.g., in Eritrea and Ethiopia), the coffee ceremony is an integral part of day-to-day life. It is a thread that binds together people, culture, and nature.

During coffee ceremonies, people talk about socio-political events, tell stories, dance, perform and celebrate the gifts of nature, such as rivers, arable lands, mountains, etc. As a space, the coffee ceremony creates the conditions of possibility for the “unsaid” to be “said” and unknowable (e.g., taboos) to be revealed. Most importantly, the joy of celebrating coffee together has a healing effect.

During this drop in session, we will facilitate a traditional Eritrean/Ethiopian coffee ceremony with some music and storytelling.

You’re welcome to bring one item or think of a song that has a cultural significance to you or your community. We will then gather all the items and play the songs during the coffee celebration to discuss the “archives” and “memories” the items and songs carry and understand the intercultural and inter-epistemic points of connection between them.


Across Refugee Festival Scotland, the RSE is hosting several events, including a week-long exhibition showcasing artwork from Hannah Rose Thomas. The RSE will also host a lecture in partnership with UNESCO on World Refugee Day alongside group discussions and the opportunity to experience an Eritrean coffee ceremony.


Allison Phipps smiling at the camera sitting down outside
Allison Phipps


Professor Alison Phipps FRSE

UNESCO Chair Refugee Integration through Languages and Arts

Alison Phipps UNESCO Chair in Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts at the University of Glasgow and Professor of Languages and Intercultural Studies. She was De Carle Distinguished Visiting Professor at Otago University, Aotearoa New Zealand 2019-2020, Thinker in Residence at the EU Hawke Centre, University of South Australia in 2016, Visiting Professor at Auckland University of Technology, and Principal Investigator for AHRC Large Grant ‘Researching Multilingually at the Borders of Language, the body, law and the state’; for Cultures of Sustainable Peace, and is now co-Director of the Global Challenge Research Fund South-South Migration Hub. She is Ambassador for the Scottish Refugee Council. She is an academic, activist, educator and published poet.

A man looking at the camera
Dr Hyab Yohannes


Dr Hyab Yohannes

Research Associate, University of Glasgow

Hyab is currently a PhD researcher and graduate teaching assistant at the University of Glasgow and holder of the UNESCO RILA PhD Scholarship. He formerly worked for local charities and international organisations in Egypt, including UNHCR, IOM, Africa and Middle East Refugee Assistance (AMERA) and Saint Andrew’s Refugee Services (StARS). Hyab has research interest in refugee trafficking (which he wrote his MA dissertation on) and a life-long researching interest in the ambivalent position of ‘the refugee’ as an ‘unprotected’ figure (his PhD project).

In partnership with
Coffee with picture of Eritrea


Tuesday June 20th, 2023 14:00-17:00


The Royal Society of Edinburgh




Dr Hyab Yohannes