About a hundred practitioners and scholars from around the U.S. engaged in refugee and immigrant assistance and scholarship in various states and overseas came together at a conference in Greensboro this week.
As many countries worldwide face growing or acute conflicts and other conditions forcing vulnerable people to flee their places of origin, participants discussed critical issues affecting refugees resettling in the U.S. One of those topics was the situation of unaccompanied minors from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras entering, some of which may be elegible to refugee status. Elon Human Services faculty was invited to present at a workshop on this topic along with faculty from other universities in North Carolina. Keynote speakers featured representatives from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Church World Services (CSW), among others.
The 4th Annual Conference of the Association for Refugee Service Professionals (ARSP) brought together about 100 practitioners and scholars from around the country engaged in refugee assistance, particularly staff and faculty involved in resettlement programs in a wide range of countries in conflict and under various forms of stress. Participants discussed a wide range of topics, including the pre-arrival and survival status of Burmese families living in Kuala Lumpur, Malasya; refugee mental health and wellness initiatves in service delivery; refugee oral history and social change; refugee families with special needs children; selfcare for the refugee professional; empowering families in the eastern region of the Congo; financial planning among refugees; best practices in refugee assistance in North Carolina; and the next steps on the immigration reform in the U.S. On a workshop titled the “Plight of Unaccompanied minors from Central America,” Dr. Carmen Monico of Elon University presented along with Dr. Maura Nsonwu from the North Carolina A&T State University, and Dr. Justin Lee of the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. Keynote speakers featured representatives from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and Church World Services (CSW), among others. Discussions confirmed the importance of sharing views and good practice across states and borders, of networking and engaging in advocacy for better results in refugee resettlement programs, and developing programs that are grounded in evidence-based research, such as the ones some of the workshop presenters and panelists shared during the conference. Dr. Monico was invited given her knowledge of the unaccompanied minors humanitarian crisis, as a new research scholar of the Center for New North Carolinians (CNNC), and a new member of the ARSP.
For more information on the CNNC: http://cnnc.uncg.edu/
For more information on the ARSP: www.refugeeprofessionals.org