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Olivia Issa Program Lead, NASH RRI

Olivia Issa serves as Program Lead for the NASH Refugee Resettlement Initiative (RRI). Olivia has been engaged in migrant-advocacy and resettlement work since the age of 15, across Chicago, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. As a college student, Olivia founded the Welcoming Campus Initiative in the spring of 2021, to increase inclusion of refugee-background students on the George Washington University’s campus through a scholarship, mentorship program, and revised admissions practices. She also served as Executive Director of refugee-advocacy student organization No Lost Generation GWU 2020-2022, where she led lobbying, fundraising, volunteering, and campus-wide education efforts. 

In 2021, Olivia served as Co-Chair for Student Voices for Refugees, and co-author for “The RESPONSE Campaign,” a 2021 report led by Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration to build infrastructure to increase refugee access to higher education. Olivia also co-authored chapters for the 2023 book, “Accessing Quality Education: Local and Global Perspectives from Refugees,” which conducted research into refugee access to education across the Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area, for the graduate student research lab for which she was a founding member, Refugee Educational Advancement Laboratory (REAL)

Throughout her career, Olivia has served as a mentor to 60+ young women and girls with refugee backgrounds to help with college applications, job readiness, and social success. Today, Olivia is a mentor with the Immigrant and Refugee Outreach Center (IROC), and is involved in the Arab community near her home in northern Virginia.