June 13, 2016 PRESS RELEASE — Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service to Host Migrant and Refugee Leadership Academy, World Refugee Day event

Press Contact: Miji Bell
MBell@lirs.org; 410-230-2841

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) will host the 2016 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 Washington, DC on June 17-20.

The Academy will culminate in a World Refugee Day celebration on Monday, June 20th at 9:00am at the National Press Club. Confirmed speakers for the Press Club event are: Antony Blinken, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State; Shelly Pitterman, Regional Representative, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); Robert “Bob” Carey, Director, U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement; and Linda Hartke, President and CEO, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. The event is free and open to the media.

This will be the fourth annual Academy for LIRS. The training program is designed to equip participants with legislative advocacy and leadership enrichment skills that will enable them to become advocates for migrant and refugee issues in their local communities. Through the experience, participants will be equipped to mobilize and engage in sustained advocacy for creating welcoming communities for refugees. Since its inception, the Academy has trained over 150 refugees and migrants from 37 states.

This year, thirty-two participants, including training facilitators who 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 represent 17 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.

For more information about the Migrant and Refugee Leadership Academy, please contact Folabi Olagbaju at 410-625-6744. Media interested in attending any portion of the Academy may contact Miji Bell, 410-230-2841.

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