Managing Director, African Community Center (ACC), D.C. Metro
Sarah Zullo oversees social service support programs targeting African newcomer communities in the Washington, D.C., area. The programs address employment and job placement, cultural adjustment, domestic violence prevention, health education, housing, immigration, interpretation and translation, information and referral, refugee resettlement, and youth life skills. Prior to coming to Arlington, Ms. Zullo worked for the ECDC African Community Center in Denver for nearly four years, serving as Resettlement Manager for almost two years of that time. Since moving to Arlington in 2012, Ms. Zullo worked as ECDC’s Special Programs Officer at the national level. She holds an M.A. in Public Administration from the University of Colorado. Her prior work experience includes working as a Volunteer Resources Manager and a TANF Project Job Developer. She also served as an intern in the Office of the Colorado State Public Defender. In addition to English, she speaks Amharic, French, and Spanish.
Director, African Community Center, Las Vegas (ACC/LV), D.C. Metro
Milan Devetak oversees the Reception and Placement, Matching Grant, Refugee Social Services, Intensive Case Management and Refugee Cash Assistance programs, as well as resource development and capacity building at ACC/LV. He is responsible for program leadership and guidance, design and expansion, policy decisions and monitoring ACC/LV’s activities and outcomes.
Prior to becoming the Director of ACC/LV, Mr. Devetak worked for Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada for nearly four years as Director of Resettlement Services. Prior to this, he worked for ECDC-ACC/LV for a year as Resettlement Manager.
Mr. Devetak also worked in the adult education field for over seven years as Literacy Program Manager and ESL Teacher, as well as overseas for World Learning and USAID, under the auspices of the United States Embassy in Belgrade, Serbia.
He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Management from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, as well as the State of Nevada License for Educational Personnel. In addition to English, he speaks Serbian and Croatian and has a working knowledge of Spanish.
Dr. Teferra is founder and president of the Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC), Inc. which was established in 1983. His leadership and vision have shaped ECDC from a start-up agency with an initial budget of less than $100,000 to a major community-based organization with an annual budget of over several million. ECDC now offers a wide range of cultural, economic, educational, and social services at the local and national levels through its headquarters operations and through ECDC African Community Center (ACC) branch offices in Denver, Colorado, Las Vegas, Nevada, and Arlington, Virginia.
While meeting the many challenges of running a multifaceted organization, Dr. Teferra is also active in civic, professional, and local community affairs. He frequently lectures locally and nationally on African issues and cross-cultural studies and has testified before Congress. He has served as Chair of the Resettlement Committee of Refugee Council USA and as a member of its Finance Committee; and Vice Chair and Chairman of the Virginia State Refugee Advisory Council. He was appointed by the Arlington County Board to serve as a founding member of the Arlington County, Virginia, Multicultural Commission; as well as a member of the County’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Task Force for Arlington’s Future, and the Diversity Dialogue Task Force . Dr. Teferra currently serves as a member of the Board of InterAction; the Board of the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization in Arlington, Virginia.
A native of Ethiopia, Dr. Tsehaye Teferra received his undergraduate degree from Haile Selassie I University in Addis Ababa. He then earned an M.S. in Applied Linguistics and a Ph.D. in Sociolinguistics from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., where he also served as a Research Associate in the School of Languages and Linguistics. Dr. Teferra was an instructor at The Catholic University of America and the Foreign Service Institute and was an Assistant Professor in the African Studies and Research Center at Howard University. He served as a cross-cultural instructor in the Peace Corps’ in-country training program and taught at several institutions of higher learning in Ethiopia before coming to the United States as a UNESCO Fellow in 1972.
Recognition and Awards
Selected as a White House Champion of Change in 2012.
Received the Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago’s Pioneer Award for Leadership, Advocacy and Networking in October 2009.
Honored in May 2008 by the Society of Ethiopians Established in Diaspora (SEED) for his many years of public service to Ethiopian and Africans in Diaspora.
Honored by Bank of America in 2006 with a Local Hero Award of Excellence for contributions as president of ECDC and the Enterprise Development Group through support to low-to-moderate income entrepreneurs.
Honored by the City Council of the City of Los Angeles in 2005 with an Award of Appreciation for his contributions to improving the lives of refugee and immigrant newcomers to the United States.
Recognized in 1991by former President George H.W. Bush for outstanding record of community service.
Recognized in 1991 for outstanding contributions to the country by then Ambassador at Large and U.S. Coordinator for Refugee Affairs Jewel Lafontant-Mankarious.
Senior Vice President and Director of Resettlement
Allene oversees ECDC’s R&P Program. She is also engaged in development activities and works with ECDC’s branch offices. Allene received a B.A. in German from Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana, and did graduate work at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. She has been with ECDC since 1986.
Director of Finance
Azeb provides management, control and administration of all fiscal operations of ECDC its and its branch offices. Ms. Tadesse has over 12 years of finance experience. She has an MBA from Strayer University in Arlington, Virginia.
Associate Director of Community Integration Programs
Anam oversees ECDC’s Community Integration Programs, including Matching Grant, Preferred Communities, and Refugee AmeriCorps. Prior to ECDC, Anam worked in various capacities for governmental, non-profit and international organizations. Ms. Gnaho holds a Master’s degree in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University; a Master’s degree in International Peace and Conflict Resolution from American University; and a law degree from the University of Pune in India.
Senior R&P Program Officer
Benaiah oversees pre-arrival and post-arrival processing activities, including assurances, arrivals, case transfers, case inquiries, and processing reports. In the past, he worked in various capacities for the government of Sudan, the Office of African Studies at the American University in Cairo, Egypt, and the International Organization for Migrations (IOM). Benaiah has experience in governmental and non-governmental organizations and has specialized in cultural orientation.
R&P Program & Processing Specialist
Colleen serves as the R&P Program & Processing Specialist, supporting the processing and programmatic tasks in the R&P department. She conducts monthly checks on case notes and Financial Assistance Forms, and she processes and tracks trends of assurances, R&P Period Reports, and IOM Loan Collection Reports. Colleen was an R&P Program Intern at ECDC in the summer of 2018, and returned to the ECDC R&P team as a specialist in May 2019 after earning her B.A. in Anthropology and Global Security & Justice at the University of Virginia
Jessica Castro is a Program Officer for the Matching Grant program. She supports ECDC’s affiliates and branch offices achieve programmatic compliance and refugee employment and self-sufficiency outcomes through ongoing training, technical assistance, monitoring, and evaluation. She has a background working for non-profits; providing case management as well as supervising experience. During her time in graduate school, she had an internship in Hong Kong where she worked with refugees and asylum seekers. Jessica holds a Master’s degree in Social Work with a concentration in the management of social services and a bachelor’s in social welfare.
R&P Program Specialist
Elise is the point person for SIV post-arrival walk-in requests, and she processes and tracks trends of R&P Period Reports, IOM Loan Collection Reports, I-94 record delay inquiries, and Social Security Card delays. Elise began working at ECDC as the R&P Processing intern in September 2017 before officially becoming a part of the processing team as a specialist in February 2018. Her field of study was Anthropology, and she holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Ohio University.
Haileyesus is in charge of setting up, managing and troubleshooting the technology systems that ECDC uses to maintain computer and software networks. His duties include responding to hardware problems, updating system software, and tracking the data and communications used on ECDC’s network. Haileyesus previously served as System and database administrator in the United Nations. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Management Information System from Unity University.
R&P Program Officer
Kalikidan serves as lead on ECDC’s family reunification programs; she is also the ECDC liaison for key pre-arrival tasks, and supports the portfolio of refugee minors. Prior to joining ECDC, Kalikidan worked for various non-profit and government agencies in both programmatic and clinical capacities, seeking to improve the quality of life for people of color, immigrants, families, and other marginalized communities. Kalikidan holds a Master’s in Social Work from Columbia University and a Bachelor’s in Criminology from George Mason University. She is fluent in Amharic and certified in Adult Mental Health First Aid and Trauma-Informed Care.
Senior Program Officer
Kathryn is a senior Program Officer for the Preferred Communities program primarily focusing on Refugee AmeriCorps. Kathryn served two years as an AmeriCorps VISTA service member serving refugee and immigrant communities in Minneapolis, MN. Kathryn has a B.A. in Political Science and Global Studies from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.
Rachel is a Program Officer for the Preferred Communities program. Prior to this position, Rachel was a PC program coordinator for a local resettlement affiliate. She also served as a former Refugee AmeriCorps member providing both intensive case management and job readiness services. Rachel has experience in direct services and teaching ESL to refugees in South Africa. She holds a B.A. in Political Science and Religious Studies.
Rebecca D. Hailemeskel
Associate Director of Reception and Placement Program
Rebecca manages the day-to-day operations of the R&P program, including leading strategic planning activities; supervising program staff, reviewing monitoring tools, protocols, and reports; and serving as ECDC’s liaison with the PRM. She has over 20 years of experience working in international and local NGOs as a program officer, gender advisor, project coordinator, and trainer. She has specialized in an array of fields, including refugee resettlement, human trafficking, child protection, HIV/AIDS, gender mainstreaming, and women’s empowerment. Rebecca holds a Master’s degree in Gender Studies from Addis Ababa University and a Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management and Leadership from The International Leadership Institute in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Rhonda is a Program Assistant for ECDC’s Matching Grant and Preferred Communities programs. Rhonda has several years of work experience as program assistant, most recently at the Department of Human Services (DHS) in Georgia. Prior to that she also worked for the USAID for 10-months before the family relocated to Georgia as a result of her husband’s job. Rhonda’s job experiences include managing budget, logistics, drafting proposals and memos. Rhonda holds a master’s degree in Public Administration, and a B. A. in Mass Communications.
Samira is a Program Officer for the R&P program, serving as the primary point of contact for the P-3 Family Reunification, Central American Minor, and Lautenberg programs. Samira earned the President’s Volunteer Service Award from President Obama for volunteering more than 120 hours in the social services setting in Los Angeles. With more than seven years of experience in the nonprofit sector, Samira has worked as a case manager and children services coordinator with an affiliate office of USCCB. Samira holds a Master’s degree in International Development Studies from the George Washington University, where she specialized in migration and worked with IOM-Jordan for her capstone project. She has a B.A. in General Design from California State University Long Beach.
Wossen is the IT Manager overseeing the information technology system for ECDC headquarters and branch offices. He manages database, messaging, network, security, server, VPN, and ECDC’s website. Wossen has a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
R&P Program Specialist
Yeshareg monitors IOM flight information and ensures accurate details are disseminated to affiliates in a timely manner. She also processes R&P reimbursements and corresponds with the RPC to confirm that ECDC’s arrival numbers match with the RPC. Yeshareg previously served as an Engineering Assistant and Data Entry Supervisor at ABB, Inc. She lived and worked in London before relocating to the United States.