ARLINGTON, Va.—As 2023 rings in ECDC’s 40th year, the community-based resettlement agency is preparing to commemorate its 40th year through a series of in-person and virtual events involving its 22-plus resettlement network of agencies across the United States, the clients it serves, and the communities it operates in.
‘We begin our 40th year stronger by adding new sites while celebrating 40 years of empowering refugees and immigrants with our existing sites and partners. Four decades of advocating for and serving newcomers, assisting them to become integrated, contributing members of society,’ says founder, president, and CEO, Tsehaye Teferra, Ph.D., which would not have been possible without support from the community and all stakeholders and partners.
ECDC will celebrate its legacy of 40 years of finding new and creative ways to integrate new neighbors into well-establish communities by recognizing their contributions.
“As a community-based organization, our roots and history began by working with other community-based organizations. For years, we have mobilized communities and rallied volunteers from all walks of life. When we celebrate, we are celebrating these communities and individuals who championed the cause of being a welcoming nation—the American dream, the American promise,” said organizers of the event.
The 40th-year commemoration will include webinars hosted by various branch offices, fund-raising events, and workshops carried out throughout the year. Events that will allow our refugee communities to participate are also being planned.
This year, ECDC’s annual national conference will also return after a two-year hiatus due to COVID. Hundreds of stakeholders participate in ECDC’s annual national conference, which has been held in Virginia for many years. This year’s gathering will also be an occasion to celebrate ECDC’s 40th anniversary.
As the refugee population and needs grew, so did ECDC’s reach. The Ethiopian Community Development Council, Inc., was established in June 1983 to address the needs of Ethiopian immigrants at that time. Later on, services expanded to include Eritrean and Sudanese refugees and other refugees from Africa. Today, ECDC has seven branch offices and 17 affiliates, which operate in 24 refugee resettlement sites across the U.S.
Since 1991, ECDC has resettled 66,000 refugees. Last year alone, ECDC resettled over 7,000 Afghan humanitarian parolees.
This year through its seven branch offices and 17 Affiliates, ECDC expects to resettle more than 6,000 newcomers across its network.