State Letter #10-07
Attendance at ORR’s 2010 National Consultation, June 7 – 8, 2010
TO: STATE REFUGEE COORDINATORS
REFUGEE HEALTH COORDINATORS
NATIONAL VOLUNTARY AGENCIES
OTHER INTERESTED PARTIES
FROM: Eskinder Negash
Office of Refugee Resettlement
SUBJECT: Attendance at ORR’s 2010 National Consultation, June 7 – 8, 2010
As you are aware, the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) will host a National Consultation on June 7-8, 2010, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, D.C. The theme for this year’s consultation is “Honoring 30 Years of Service: Commitment, Hope, and Dignity” in recognition of the thirty-year anniversary of the enactment of the Refugee Act of 1980. The purpose of this letter is to strongly encourage all of ORR’s stakeholder and partners, including State Refugee Coordinators and Refugee Health Coordinators, voluntary agencies, mutual assistance associations, and refugees, to attend and to participate in the Consultation.
We cannot overemphasize the urgency and the strategic importance of this Consultation. The Refugee Act of 1980 requires the Director of ORR to consult with representatives from States, voluntary agencies and other key partners to develop policies and strategies for the placement and resettlement of refugees and other vulnerable groups within the United States. Attendance and participation in the National Consultation by ORR’s partners, such as State Refugee Coordinators and Refugee Health Coordinators, is critical to complying with this requirement. The Consultation provides our partners in resettlement the opportunity to raise their concerns, ask questions, and provide comments and suggestions to ORR as part of the consultative process. Furthermore, this year’s consultation will feature several, small-group dialogue sessions to facilitate consultation between ORR and its partners. We expect that these dialogue sessions will lead to broad and long term implications for the funding, operation and management of the refugee program for which our partners’ active participation is essential.
This year ORR plans a special focus on consulting directly with refugees. During the consultation, we will convene a listening session and invite refugees to assess the effectiveness of existing resettlement services, share their vision for an improved resettlement system, and suggest innovative programming to achieve that vision. I strongly encourage states and other service providers to consider this emphasis in determining the make-up of their delegations. After all, there is no better way to honor the last thirty years of service, than to ask those we serve for their reflections.
Immediately following the scheduled consultation, ORR will host program specific training on June 9 – 10, 2010 also at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C. State Refugee Coordinators, Refugee Health Coordinators and individuals working in the Wilson/Fish, Unaccompanied Refugee Minors (URM), the Unaccompanied Children’s Services, and Anti-Trafficking in Persons programs are especially encouraged to participate in the two-day training following the consultation.
More specifically, ORR staff will provide two important, focused sessions for training:
- A working session is scheduled for State Refugee Coordinators and Refugee Health Coordinators following the Consultation on Wednesday, June 9, 2010. Both new and experienced state government officials with responsibility for refugee assistance and services can benefit from this working session and are asked to attend.
- An Unaccompanied Refugee Minor (URM) consultation is planned for Wednesday and Thursday, June 9-10, 2010. The URM program actually marks its 31 st year of operation in 2010, and ORR is compelled to address the rapid evolution of the URM program during this time, particularly regarding our mandate to implement the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) of 2008. We urge the participation of staff in your office assigned to URM issues and would appreciate your encouragement of URM Program Managers in your state to participate.
We thank you for the critical role you play in the Refugee Resettlement Program and look forward to your participation in helping to expand the national dialogue on the refugee program.