June 13, 2014 PRESS RELEASE — LIRS World Refugee Day Academy to Kick off Advocacy Day with Washington Press Conference

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact: Miji Bell
mbell@lirs.org, (410) 230-2841

WASHINGTON, DC – The World Refugee Day Academy Advocacy Day, hosted by Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), will begin with a press conference on Thursday, June 19, 2014 from 9:00a.m.-10:00a.m. at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation, 212 East Capitol St., NE, Washington, DC.

Anne C. Richard, Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration; Shelly Pitterman, head of the Washington, DC office of UNHCR; and LIRS President and CEO Linda Hartke will bring remarks, followed by an open Q&A session.   Members of the Washington Foreign Press Center will also attend as part of a two-part tour related to U.S. efforts and humanitarian assistance for refugee resettlement. Participating journalists will also have the opportunity to interview World Refugee Day Academy participants who have been resettled from Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bosnia, Burma, Congo, Ethiopia, Iraq, Jordan, Liberia, Iran, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, and Syria.

The World Refugee Day Academy is a component of LIRS’ 75th anniversary celebration, and will convene former refugees to focus on building advocacy, community organizing, and leadership skills.

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. Each individual’s inspiring story of overcoming hardship to become a community leader illustrates the courage and perseverance of former refugees.

The June 19th Advocacy Day will allow participants to meet with members of Congress and local policy makers in an effort to influence the creation of U.S. policies that support successful refugee resettlement and immigration reform.

Media attending the press conference are asked to arrive at the venue no later than 8:45 am.  For more information on the World Refugee Day Academy or other LIRS 75th anniversary events, please visit www.lirs.org.

 

Founded in 1939, LIRS is the second largest refugee resettlement agency in the United States. It is nationally recognized for its leadership advocating with refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied children, immigrants in detention, families fractured by migration and other vulnerable populations, and for providing services to migrants through over 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.