For more than 200 years, London has been a repository for some of the globe’s most remarkable cultural treasures.

Friends embrace during Refugee Week, an annual event celebrating refugees’ cultural contributions to the U.K. Events highlighted refugees’ influences in the arts, music and food, and allowed networking among ethnicities.

In an hour’s stroll through the British Museum, a visitor can view Greek statues from the Parthenon; colossal stone-winged lions from an Assyrian palace; the Rosetta Stone, the world’s key to unlocking the language of the pharaohs; and a plethora of other incomparable, priceless treasures.

Yet other treasure has found a home in London outside the secure walls of a world-class museum.

That treasure is on the streets, in the neighborhoods, riding the buses and underground trains, heading to an Olympics venue, working in the restaurants or attending the schools.

It’s the people.

There’s Asuntha, for instance. Her Sri Lankan husband brought her to London just after they were married. As is common in this sort of arranged marriage, she didn’t know him well, and family difficulties followed. A few years and two daughters later, her husband left her, a bank repossessed her home, and she had to move into government housing.

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