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State Letter #01-02

Farewell from Lavinia Limon

Published: January 11, 2001
Types:
State Letter

TO: STATE REFUGEE COORDINATORS
STATE HEALTH COORDINATORS
VOLUNTARY AGENCIES

FROM: Lavinia Limon, Director
Office of Refugee Resettlement

SUBJECT: Farewell

Upon my departure, I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your sincere dedication to the refugee program and continued support of refugees. During the past seven years we have been through many transitions together in terms of new populations of refugees and their challenges as well as new initiatives that you have implemented so well. We have come far together, and I have the deepest respect for all that you have accomplished for refugees in your States.

As I traveled around the country over these past seven years, visiting refugee programs and speaking before so many dedicated state employees, voluntary agency staff, MAAs, service provider staff, volunteers and refugees, one thing has been evident -- all of you are making a difference in the lives of refugees. Through your programs you have touched refugee families and provided a sense of security and hope that empowers them to take charge of their new lives in a new country. And I want you to know how much I have appreciated your efforts and your energy.

As the outgoing director of ORR, my message to you today is the same as it was in
1993 -- "think of the refugee first." Programs must stay flexible so that each new refugee group with their own set of challenges can receive services that address their particular needs.

In closing, I want you to know that it has been a privilege and a pleasure working with you during my tenure at ORR. You are true professionals and have demonstrated that in so many different ways. Your good work is directly related to the success of refugees in the U.S. and I know that you will continue your good work for the next administration.

It's been 25 years since I was bit by the refugee bug, and as I still have the fever, don't be surprised if you find me reincarnated in another phase of refugee and immigrant work in the future. However, I must say farewell for now, and most of all I want to thank you for all you have done, for your support and friendship over the last seven years, and for choosing to work in refugee resettlement.