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Young Leaders educate Atlanta about Refugees

By Deepti Sivakumar
April 2013
Young Leaders educate Atlanta about Refugees

Moderator Amna Shirazi stands with conference leaders at World Affairs Council of Atlanta program on the refugee crisis. (Photos: World Affairs Council of Atlanta/Steve Thackson 2013).

The World Affairs Council of Atlanta organized its fifth Annual Young Leaders Conference in conjunction with CARE USA on February 9 at The Commerce Club in downtown Atlanta. The Young Leaders group offers not only opportunities for leadership development but also dialogue about international issues and deeper interaction amongst various ethnic professional communities. The objective of this conference, titled "The World Refugee Crisis- Conflict, Consequences and Cooperation," was to educate people on the refugee crisis and the issues affecting refugees.

Speakers included chief operating officers, executive directors, and other top officials from CARE USA; the U.S. Dept. of State's Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration; U.S. Programs Atlantic Region, International Rescue Committee (IRC); United Nations Refugee Agency; Refugee Resettlement & Immigration Services of Atlanta (RRISA); Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); Refugee Family Services; Clarkston Development Foundation; International Rescue Committee Atlanta (IRC); as well as former refugees and volunteer organizations.

WAC_AnithaVadavatha0684_319x212.JPG

Mr. David Beckler with Anitha Vadavatha of ICA Institute

The first session was a Refugee 101 which focused on educating the audience about who a refugee is, why they need to be taken in, and the process of rescue and resettlement. Mayerick and Mixon spoke about the situation in Afghanistan and how Afghani refugees are being resettled in Pakistan and other countries. The second session addressed unintended consequences and the impact on the host country. Cetron clarified the health concerns with hosting refugees, in case of an outbreak and how it impacts the host country. The third session was about refugees in Atlanta.

Immigration attorney Amna Shirazi, who was also a moderator, said that most people in Atlanta think of refugees as a drain on the economy, whereas refugees are some of the most productive members of our society. “Most refugees get jobs within a month of their arrival in the United States, and many go on to start their own business and create jobs for our economy,’ she said.

Aside from educating the public, the conference also aimed at inspiring people to take action and get involved in addressing the refugee crisis. The event hosted a volunteer fair where interested members of the public were matched with other organizations such as Culture Connect, Peacebuilding Solutions, the Refugee Women’s Network, and Tapestri. “The South Asian community needs to volunteer their time to these efforts. We urge the community to be more actively involved in these causes,” adds Shirazi.

Website Bonus Feature

Photos:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/wacatl/with/8476337099/#photo_8476337099

Videos:
Fifth Annual Young Leaders Conference: "The World Refugee Crisis: Conflict, Consequences, Cooperation," February 9th 2013, For more information, go to www.wacatlanta.org

1) WAC Atlanta Young Leaders Conference 2013-1/6, Published on Feb 28, 2013
http://youtu.be/TmXr49pqCEk

Welcome and Introductions:
Irene M. Duhaime, PhD, Senior Associate Dean, Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University
Opening Keynote: Jonathan Mitchell, Chief Operating Officer, CARE USA

2) WAC Atlanta Young Leaders Conference 2013 2/6, Published on Feb 28, 2013
http://youtu.be/rMbEPVc11hM

Session One - Refugees 101: "The Basics"
Ellen Beattie, Regional Director, U.S. Programs Atlantic Region, International Rescue Committee (IRC)
Tessa Valk-Mayerick, External Relations Associate, United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR)
Paedia Mixon, Executive Director, Refugee Resettlement & Immigration Services of Atlanta (RRISA)
Moderator: Amna Shirazi, Immigration Attorney, The Shirazi Law Group, Inc.

3) WAC Atlanta Young Leaders Conference 2013-3/6 , Published on Feb 28, 2013
http://youtu.be/YBfP1mKXshQ

Session Two - Unintended Consequences and the Impact on the Host Country
Martin Cetron, MD, Director, Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Liz McLaughlin, Executive Director, Head of Strategic Partnerships, CARE USA
Moderator: Polly J. Price, Professor of Law, Emory University School of Law

4) WAC Atlanta Young Leaders Conference 2013 4/6, Published on Feb 28, 2013
http://youtu.be/JwmFya_NWqE

Luncheon Keynote Speaker: Anne C. Richard, Assistant Secretary for Population, Refugees, and Migration, U.S. Department of State

5) WAC Atlanta Young Leaders Conference 2013 5/6, Published on Mar 7, 2013
http://youtu.be/RhdahTBt1uI

Session Three- Atlanta and the refugee crisis
Emily Pelton, Executive Director- Refugee Family Services (RFS)
Jeremy Lewis, Executive Director- Clarkston Development Foundation
J.D. McCrary, Executive Director- International Rescue Committee Atlanta (IRC)
Basmat Ahmed, Sudanese Refugee

6) WAC Atlanta Younge Leaders Conference 2013 6/6, Published on Mar 7, 2013
http://youtu.be/8M9wkagVhkk

Session Four- YOU and the refugee crisis: Making a Difference
Hands-on problem solving with representatives from Session Three Organizations
Closing Remarks

PARTICIPANTS:

Welcome by
IRENE DUHAIME, PHD, senior associate dean for administration, Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University
Featuring
JONATHAN MITCHELL, chief operating officer, CARE USA
THE HONORABLE ANNE C. RICHARD, U.S Assistant Secretary of State for Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
ELLEN BEATTIE, regional director, U.S. Programs Atlantic Region, International Rescue Committee (IRC)
TESSA VALK-MAYERICK, external relations associate, United Nations Refugee Agency
PAEDIA MIXON, executive director, Refugee Resettlement & Immigration Services of Atlanta (RRISA)
MARTIN CETRON, MD, director, Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
LIZ MCLAUGHLIN, executive director for strategic partnerships, CARE USA
EMILY PELTON, executive director, Refugee Family Services
JEREMY LEWIS, executive director, Clarkston Development Foundation
J.D. McCRARY, executive director, International Rescue Committee Atlanta (IRC)
BASMAT AHMED, former refugee
In collaboration with CARE USA
Supported by The Coca-Cola Company, J. Mack Robinson College of Business, The Fogle Law Firm LLP



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