May 28, 2015 PRESS RELEASE — LIRS to Host Migrant and Refugee Leadership Academy

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

BALTIMORE, MD – Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) will host the 2015 Migrant and Refugee Leadership Academy, a three-day event for migrants and former refugees focused on building advocacy, community organizing, and leadership skills. The event will take place in Baltimore and Washington, DC on June 16-18.

This will be the third annual Academy for LIRS, one that marks an important expansion to include migrant leaders for the first time. The Academy will equip participants with legislative advocacy and leadership enrichment training to become strong advocates for migrant and refugee issues. Through the experience, participants will be equipped to mobilize and engage in sustained advocacy for creating more welcoming local communities.

Ninety participants, including nine planning committee members and training facilitators – some of whom are former refugees and migrants – 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-migrant and refugee policies. The participants hail from 33 states and represent 22 nationalities of origin. Each individual’s inspiring story of overcoming hardship to become a community leader illustrates the courage and perseverance of former migrants and refugees. The Academy schedule is as follows:

Tuesday, June 16th: Academy participants will take part in leadership skills enrichment and legislative advocacy training; discuss issues that bridge the immigration experience between migrants and refugees; and will prepare for visits with elected officials on Capitol Hill.

Wednesday, June 17th: Participants will travel to Washington, DC for a Lobby Day. Participants will meet with members of Congress to share their personal stories in an effort to support of pro-refugee legislation.

Thursday, June 18th: Participants will focus on strategies for sustained community engagement and collaborate on plans for on-going initiatives within their local communities. After they return home, the network of Migrant and Refugee Leadership Academy participants will continue to serve as a support system and resource for the work of each leader in his or her respective community.

For more information about the Migrant and Refugee Leadership Academy, please contact Folabi Olagbaju at 410-625-6744. Media interested in attending Capitol Hill meetings on June 17th may contact Miji Bell, 410-230-2841.

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