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Jason Dzubow on Political Asylum

Refugee Congress to Meet in DC

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As part of UNHCR's 60 year anniversary, the agency is hosting a Refugee Congress in Washington, DC on August 3 and 4, 2011.* The Congress will focus on refugees in the United States, and will provide an opportunity for the refugees themselves to share their experiences and help ensure that people still in need are not forgotten.* In the end, the Refugee Congress plans to create recommendations for the U.S. Congress and to generate a report for a Ministerial Meeting in Geneva later this year.

Hopefully the Refugee Congress is more functional than these guys.

One refugee who will attend the Congress is Haidar Al Mamoury, an Iraqi refugee who came to the U.S. in 2009.* Mr. Al Mamoury was working with U.S. contractors to help rebuild Iraq when he began receiving death threats.* He and his family fled the country and settled in Nashville, TN.* Now, Mr. Al Mamoury is working on a Master's Degree and encouraging his children to learn English.* He hopes that the Refugee Congress will help other refugees adjust to life in the United States.

The delegates will meet at Georgetown University Law Center, and then go to Capitol Hill for a reception and to meet with different Congressional representatives.* Speakers include Vincent Cochetel from UNHCR, Eskinder Negash, director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, and Eric P. Schwartz from the State Department Office of Population Refugees, and Migration.* But the big draw is probably Alek Wek, a British-Sudanese supermodel who is a long-time advocate for refugees.

The Refugee Congress will be held in conjunction with the National Consultation, the Office of Refugee Resettlement's annual stakeholder meeting.* According to ORR, "The annual Consultation provides a unique opportunity for stakeholders throughout the network to share ideas, engage in discussion, and expand the partnerships that form the backbone of the [refugee resettlement] program."

Hopefully these events will bring some positive attention to the plight of refugees in the U.S. and worldwide.

Originally posted on the Asylumist:

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