NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A special naturalization ceremony has been held in Central Park in honor of World Refugee Day.

Nineteen people from 12 different countries were sworn in as new Americans on Monday evening. Most of them were refugees or asylum seekers.

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The special event was held at The Delacorte Theater, an amphitheater best known as a venue for free Shakespeare performances.

A woman from the West African country of Mali was sworn in, and said that today was the happiest day of her life.

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Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson administered the Oath of Allegiance to the new citizens, WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported. The ceremony was followed by a series of performances celebrating refugees. 

“We are a nation of immigrants,” Johnson said. “This nation will not surrender to terrorism. Nor will we surrender to things that terrorism breeds. Fear, prejudice, and hatred.”

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People who come to the U.S. as refugees or asylum seekers are eligible to apply for citizenship after five years in the country.