On a chilly October day in 2015, 24-year-old Rami Anis boarded a rubber boat in the Aegean Sea in Turkey. His destination was Europe and his goal was a better life away from war and hardship.
Looking at the people around him on the boat, he was horrified. They were children, men, and women. The fact that they might not make it never escaped his mind, even though he is a professional swimmer.
“Because with the sea, you can’t joke,” said the Syrian refugee.
But on Aug. 11, Rami will not be worried about swimming in the sea. He, instead, will be swimming at the Olympics. He made it safely to Belgium after days of heart-wrenching journey, from Istanbul to Izmir to Greece before setting off a trek through Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, Austria, Germany and eventually Belgium.
Rami will be competing at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro as a member of the Refugee Olympic Team — the first of its kind — and march with the Olympic flag immediately before host nation Brazil at the opening ceremony.
The 2009 Annual Meetings kick off in a few short days in Istanbul, Turkey. A dynamic emerging-market economy strategically located between Europe and Asia, Turkey joined the World Bank in 1947 is the World Bank's largest borrower in the Europe and Central Asia Region.
The Annual Meetings will be held in the newly-built Istanbul Congress Centre, a state-of-the-art conference facility that opened two weeks ago. The Meetings will be the first major event to be hosted at the new facility.
You might be noticing a few changes over here on the World Bank Meetings Center over the next few days — the elements around the main blog post area are slowly changing in preparation for the Annual Meetings.
The Annual Meetings are being held in Istanbul in early October, and over the next few weeks, we'll be bringing you updates about the run-up to the Meetings, as well as updates from Istanbul and the Meetings themselves.