African Refugee and Immigrant Lives:
Conflict, Consequences, and Contributions
MAY 2 - 4, 2012• HOLIDAY INN ARLINGTON • 4610 NORTH FAIRFAX DRIVE • ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA 22203
Since its inception in 1993, ECDC’s national conference has been recognized as the premiere event dedicated to the topic of African refugees and immigrants in the U.S. The conference is part of ECDC’s ongoing effort to enhance awareness and support for African refugees and immigrants, to strengthen resettlement programs and services, and to promote cultural, educational and socio-economic development initiatives to help newcomers become productive members in their local communities.
Each year, distinguished speakers and dynamic plenary and concurrent sessions are designed to engage and inform conference attendees about pertinent topics of interest. The conference presents opportunities for members of local community organizations to associate with national leaders in refugee and humanitarian affairs; receive updates on policy and program issues; gather ideas from best-practice experiences; and gain inspiration and a sense of renewal that accompanies the fellowship occasioned by such gatherings. This year the conference will be combined with ECDC’s National Affiliate Network Training, providing more opportunities for collegial exchange.
This year’s conference considers a continuum of three broad themes on recent global developments; ongoing concerns about African refugee protection and resettlement issues; and refugee and immigrant impact on their new communities.
Political, military, religious and ethnic conflicts, along with the fight over resources made scarce by ecological changes are cause for displacement. In Africa, instability caused by election disputes in Côte d’Ivoire and Zimbabwe, and the struggle for independence in Sudan, has disrupted the livelihoods of thousands of people. The unprecedented sweep of political change known as ‘Arab Spring’ has also endangered the lives of black Africans in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Yemen. The drought crisis in the Horn of Africa, touted to be the worst in 60 years, has affected an estimated 12.4 million people in areas of Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia. Many are fleeing to already overcrowded refugee camps as Dadaab (Kenya) and Dollo Ado (Ethiopia). Conference presenters will consider local and global implications of conflict, peace, humanitarian interventions, and the protection and promotion of human rights as they affect the plight of displaced and dispossessed Africans.
For lack of permanent solutions for protracted refugee crises around the world, UNHCR facilitates resettlement to third-country locations and some consequently arrive in the U.S. to begin life anew. First drafted to resettle a homogenous group of refugees from South East Asia, the U.S. Refugee Program now faces difficulty in addressing the diversity of refugee needs. This conference invites updates on policy reform and presentations from practitioners on the challenges of service provision and socio-economic integration of African refugees and immigrants in the U.S.
From camps to resettlement, as individuals and as community-based organizations, refugees and immigrants have chosen to be agents of change and have contributed to the social and economic betterment of their new countries. Conference presenters are invited to reflect on these contributions and share their inspirational experiences with attendees.
ECDC was established in 1983 to respond to the needs of the growing Ethiopian community in the Washington DC metropolitan area. It has since grown into an organization with national and international reach. As a multi-service provider, ECDC is dedicated to helping refugees and immigrants become productive, self-sufficient members of their communities and strengthening the support systems that help them to succeed. Cultural and ethnic diversity is a hallmark of ECDC. Its multicultural staff speaks over 30 languages. Program support comes from corporations, foundations, individual contributions, in-kind donations, faith-based institutions and local, state, and federal agencies.
18th National Conference Report (2012)
18th National Conference Presentations (2012)
17th National Conference Report (2011)
17th National Conference Presentations (2011)