“The conference transformed individual programs working with particular communities into a more powerful coalition, ready to strengthen the meaning and impact of refugee tutoring and advocacy.”
- Hannah Duncan, BRYTE coordinator and conference participant
The Creating Connections Conference brought together thirty-eight student leaders representing ten refugee youth assistance programs from across the United States. Planned and hosted by ARYSE staff and a working group of Brown University students, the conference reinvigorated and developed the capacity of leaders, facilitated resource sharing, and expanded conversation about issues of refugee resettlement and education on campuses and in communities across the nation.
The weekend opened with a keynote address by Eskinder Negash, Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Panels and workshops covered topics including ELL teaching, wrap around services, resource mapping, engaging community partners, refugee youth in the public education system, and movement building. A Brown alum, Fulbright scholar, and Hmong refugee closed the conference with a speech that participants rated as a 6 on a 1-5 scale in evaluations. According to participants:
“This conference has started the flow of ideas which will lead to positive changes in our organization.”
“I’m really looking forward to taking the momentum from this conference and using it to implement direct structural changes in our programming and raise standards for ourselves and our volunteers.”
“We want to create a college prep program because we were so inspired here.”
Stay tuned for updates as we begin planning Creating Connections 2014, to be held in Pittsburgh!