May 22, 2014 NEWS RELEASE — World Refugee Day Academy to be Held in Baltimore; Event Will Convene Over 50 Former Refugees

Published On: Donate

For Immediate Release
Press Contact: Miji Bell, 410-230-2841

BALTIMORE – As part of its 75th anniversary celebration, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) will host World Refugee Day Academy, a three-day event for former refugees focusing on building advocacy, community organizing, and leadership skills.  The event will take place June 18-20, 2014 in Baltimore and Washington, DC.

Fifty-one participants, including two training facilitators who are also former refugees, were selected from a pool of applicants with demonstrated leadership experience, strong ties to their local communities, and a desire to mobilize in support of pro-refugee policy. The participants hail from 27 different states and represent 18 nationalities of origin. Each individual’s inspiring story of overcoming hardship to become a community leader illustrates the courage and perseverance of former refugees. The Academy schedule is as follows:

Wednesday, June 18th Academy participants will take part in advocacy training on issues impacting refugee communities and will prepare for visits with elected officials on Capitol Hill.

Thursday, June 19th:  Participants will travel to Washington, DC to meet with Senators, members of the House and their staffers in an effort to share their personal stories in support of pro-refugee legislation.

Friday, June 20thAgenda will focus on developing essential skills for community organizing and leadership. Participants will work together to plan year-long initiatives for their local communities. After they return home, the network of World Refugee Day Academy participants will serve as a support system and resource for the work of each leader in his or her community.

For more information about LIRS or World Refugee Day Academy, please contact Folabi Olagbaju at 202-626-7931. Media interested in attending Capitol Hill meetings on June 19th may contact Miji Bell, 410-230-2841.


Founded in 1939, LIRS is nationally recognized for advocating for and with refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied children, immigrants in detention, families fractured by migration and other vulnerable populations, and for serving migrants through 60 grassroots legal and social service partners across the United States. Celebrating 75 years of service and advocacy this year, LIRS has helped more than 500,000 migrants and refugees rebuild their lives in America.


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