Arlington, Va. – The Ethiopian Community Development Council, Inc. (ECDC) is launching a new initiative with Opening Universities for Refugees (OUR). ECDC OUR – U.S. will support ECDC’s affiliate network to expand university and college engagement in refugee resettlement in their respective local communities. The initiative has grown out of ECDC’s recent work to establish a national co-sponsorship program and OUR’s success in increasing access to tertiary education for refugees in the Asia Pacific region over the past five years.
“Launching OUR in the U.S. through ECDC is a wonderful and timely opportunity. I look forward to bringing our experiences from the Asia Pacific region to the U.S. context during this critical time and to join the ECDC Team,” said Dr. Gül İnanç, founder of OUR. “The collaboration brings together ECDC’s long-standing history of resettling refugees and their existing resettlement network with OUR’s experience, expertise, global partnerships, and success in engaging universities in refugee education.”
ECDC’s OUR-U.S. will build partnerships with universities to meet immediate resettlement needs through co- sponsorship programs and ultimately increase access to tertiary education for refugees in the U.S. as well as create opportunities to privately sponsor refugee students abroad who are approved for resettlement.
OUR-US’s first initiative is to partner with Every Campus a Refuge (ECAR). ECAR has been working since 2015 to advocate for, and demonstrate how universities can temporarily house refugees and assist with their resettlement into the local community. Moving forward, OUR-U.S. and ECAR will provide coordinated training and support to ECDC’s affiliate network to help them establish university co-sponsorship programs.
“I’m thrilled with the approach ECDC has taken to lead the way in supporting its network to engage universities from a coordinated, national-level,” said Dr. Diya Abdo, Director, and Founder of ECAR. “I look forward to working closely with ECDC’s local offices and their university and college partners in the coming weeks and months to respond to the needs of our Afghan allies. Together, we can leverage existing campus resources while providing a powerful opportunity for civic engagement to the campus and its communities.”
ECDC, based in Arlington, Va., is one of the nine national resettlement agencies directly funded by the Department of State. ECDC has been resettling refugees since 1991 and works with a network of affiliate organizations around the country to empower refugees and immigrants to become self-sufficient and integrated members of American society. For more information, visit www.ecdcus.org.