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Refugee Resettlement Initiative logo

NASH’s RRI aims to create welcoming campuses and promote the inclusion of refugees and displaced communities at universities across the U.S. through three goals:

  1. Raise awareness of a new role that universities can play as co-sponsors and sponsors of refugee students and families;
  2. Provide technical and coordination support in the form of “train the trainers” programs in partnership with “Every Campus a Refuge” (ECAR) and other such organizations; and
  3. Advocate for this work with the federal, state, and private sectors, as well as within systems and their alumni networks.

RRI on Instagram

Jessi Kalambayi is a program manager at the Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality at the University of Denver for the Ready for Amrican Hospitality program (RAH). During undergrad, She started as an intern at the African Community Center, a local  Denver chapter of the ECDC refugee resettlement agency,  helping refugees and immigrants get to self-sufficiency through ESL enrollment, Public Benefits applications, and an RAH support role. She worked her way up to a leadership role that allowed her to then manage and have a direct impact by advocating for refugees in the hospitality industry.  With her multicultural background, Jessi uses her lived experience to connect with the vulnerable communities navigating their resettlement journey in the United States. Jessi teaches the curriculum, manages daily operations, and collaborates with industry partners to ensure RAH students can access as many resources as possible to enable a smooth transition into the US workforce.

The Fritz Knoebel partnership with the Ethiopian Community Development Council’s African Community Center represents one of the most important and powerful educational frameworks that allows DU undergraduate students the chance for effective learning and responsible leadership and grants Refugees and migrants the opportunities to get ready while learning about the hospitality industry and building a strong supportive community.

#RRIChampion #RefugeeResettlemtnIntiative
Join the Welcome Corps on Campus Consortium on September 12 at 1pm ET on Zoom or in-person at @georgetownuniversity for our first in-person event on the Welcome Corps on Campus!

The event will feature remarks from the Assistant Secretary of State Julieta Valls Noyes, presidents of @universityofmaryland and @georgetownuniversity, an overview of the program, and a conversation with key stakeholders.

The Welcome Corps on Campus was launched in July 2023 by the U.S. Department of State, to allow institutions and their stakeholders to welcome and enroll refugee students on their campuses.

Check out the link in our bio to register!
#TuesdayNewsday: Dive into the world of migration with Hopes, Fears, and Illusions (HFI) ✈️🌎 This pilot project, fueled by a Tufts Springboard grant, takes us on a journey to understand the hopes and fears of migrants heading to the United States. Four teams of Fletcher graduate students spent six weeks in Mexico, Costa Rica, and Colombia, uncovering how migrants gather information and what drives their decisions.

Professors Katrina Burgess and Kimberly Howe led the way as principal investigators. Check out the link in our bio for an in-depth look at their notes from the field. 📝 #HopesFearsIllusions #MigrationJourney #ResearchAdventures #RRI #RefugeeResettlementInitiative
The Refugee Resettlement Initiative had a very busy summer, focusing on our mission to create welcoming campuses and promote the inclusion of refugees and displaced communities at universities across the U.S. 

We held a leadership panel called “Welcome Campuses: The Roles of Universities in Refugee Protection” at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City for World Refugee Day, hosted an initiative called New York Higher Education Institutions as Centers for Refugee Welcome” at the SUNY Global Center in New York City, and held ECAR-RRI Trainings with campuses across the U.S.

We’re grateful for the work we were able to do, and are looking ahead towards the future of our programs.

If you’d like to learn more about our summer initiatives, check out the links in our bio!

#RRI #RefugeeResettlementInitiative #summer2023
#TuesdayNewsday: When Lisibeth Ochoa Borjas flew from her native country of Venezuela to Kentucky to visit her family, she never expected that it would become her new home.

Lisibeth went to the Bluegrass state in 2019, but when Venezuela closed its borders during the COVID-19 Pandemic, she decided to stay in the United States and create a better life for herself.

That's when she discovered the Kentucky Humanitarian Assistance Scholarship, a program funded by the Kentucky General Assembly that helps displaced students who have been in the U.S. for five years or fewer pay for college.

Check out the link in our bio to read more about Lisibeth's story and others who have found educational refuge in Kentucky.

#RRI #RefugeeResettlementInitiative #Kentucky #KentuckyHumanitarianAssistanceScholarship
The NASH Refugee Resettlement Initiative (RRI) is seeking two dedicated interns to help us work toward our mission: to mobilize higher education institutions in the U.S. to support refugee and displaced students, scholars, and families.

We are looking for a motivated intern to help us mobilize college and university campuses to participate in our Champions Network and the Welcome Corps on Campus. We are also looking for an intern who can generate content highlighting the work of higher education champions of refugee inclusion, news related to our work, and funding and training opportunities for campus leaders.

If this sounds like you, visit the link in our bio or check out our LinkedIn for more information and to apply!

#WereHiring #Hiring #Interns #NASH #RRI #NationalAssociationofSystemHeads #RefugeeResettlementInitiative
#TuesdayNewsday: In the spring of 2022, Philadelphia became a haven for over 3,000 refugees who fled the Ukraine conflict. Andre Krug, the head of KleinLife, a prominent Jewish community center in the city, became a pivotal figure in this humanitarian crisis.

Responding swiftly, KleinLife opened its doors to approximately 60 refugee children, offering them a place in their camp program without any financial burden. As fall arrived, KleinLife expanded its efforts, facilitating the enrollment of numerous children into language-learning programs and schools to learn English.

Read more about this story by checking out the link in our bio.

#RRI #RefugeeResettlementInitiative #KleinLife #Philadelphia #philly
A recently commissioned report by the Presidents' Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration reveals that students from immigrant families constitute nearly one-third of all American colleges and university enrollees.

The Presidents' Alliance issued two reports. One, in partnership with the American Immigration Council, analyzed the demographics of undocumented students. The second, from the Migration Policy Institute, focused on students from immigrant families. Both reports highlighted these student groups' substantial presence in U.S. enrollments and their role in enhancing diversity.

Check out the link in our bio, or click here to read the full article published by Inside Higher Ed.

#RefugeeResettlementInitiative #InsideHigherEd #PresidentsAllianceonHigherEducationandImmigration #HigherEducation #Immigration

Why did NASH create The RRI?

The arrival of over 100,000 Afghans and 100,000 Ukrainians in the United States within short periods of time presents an opportunity for Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) to collaborate and develop action plans to create welcoming communities and promote inclusivity, both to meet the moment and for the long term.

NASH and the Power of Systems began mobilizing in early October 2021 to forge a government and university coalition to address specific and urgent needs—primarily sponsorship and housing—of refugee families. Initially focused on 14 states designated by the U.S. Department of State to resettle Afghan arrivals, NASH’s role has been to increase the number of welcoming systems and campuses, work with key partners to build an efficient ecosystem among campuses, and build state and federal support for IHEs to be able to respond quickly and then become established resettlement partners.

What is The RRI Champion Network?

RRI Champions make up a community of leaders within the NASH member systems from Maryland to Washington state, which work to stand up programs on their campuses in support of refugees. Champions are faculty, staff, and students of universities and systems who are dedicated to dreaming up creative ways for universities to host refugees.

Paul Whitney stands with a group of people of various ages smiling on a college campus as part of the Every Campus a Refuge chapter in the state of Washington.


This RRI Champion has worked to stand up the first ever Every Campus a Refuge chapter in the state of Washington.  Paul’s team at Washington State University – Pullman is currently hosting one refugee family, and given the incredible support of the Pullman community, it plans to welcome a second refugee family soon. “NASH provided the spark that led us to this effort, and the support of the President and Provost allowed our team to make a real difference in a family’s life while bringing the university and the community closer together.”

Lee Nimocks


This RRI Champion at the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education is helping drive the first ever statewide Humanitarian Assistance Scholarship Program. CPE, in partnership with the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority, is helping hundreds of displaced students attend Kentucky’s universities and community colleges. NASH is partnering with Kentucky to help launch the new program. “NASH and its national partners are critical to providing technical support as we implement this new scholarship program. The populations we are serving with this scholarship require new levels of outreach, support and advising, and NASH is helping Kentucky meet this challenge.” 

Which programs do we support?


Every Campus a Refuge (ECAR) “Train the Trainers” Program
The NASH RRI is partnering with Every Campus a Refuge (ECAR) to train college and university faculty and administrative staff on how to draw on university and community resources in order to assist a refugee family during its first, transitional months in the United States.NASH members can receive free, certificate-bearing training on how to establish an ECAR chapter on their campuses, and how to effectively advocate for refugee resettlement ecosystems with higher education institutions (HEIs) at their center. Learn more about ECAR’s work.


State-wide Mobilization
We are composing a state advocacy strategy, to comprehensively map the country’s resettlement needs, by tracking the states with the greatest Afghan and Ukrainian populations compared to the capacities of their institutes for higher education to host refugees.

Education to Workforce
We are working to improve the pipeline for refugees to graduate prepared to enter into the U.S. workforce.

Data Compilation
The RRI recognizes that our initiatives can only be scaled successfully when we have data to back up our work. We are compiling data points on the support of refugees on campuses at every step of the process, with the goal of cultivating an encompassing database.

What can NASH member systems and their campuses do to get involved?

  1. Host a refugee student and/or family on multiple campuses, either as a co-sponsor or private sponsor. The “Train the Trainers” program will equip participating systems with the information they need to customize, develop, and sustain welcoming and resettlement programs on their campuses. In addition, NASH is involved in a university-sponsorship implementation coalition being forged to respond to the US government’s new “Priority 4” category of refugee protection, which will allow IHEs and other communities to privately sponsor the resettlement of refugees.
  2. Offer timely support by leveraging on-campus resources including housing, enrollment (e.g., scholarships, tuition waivers), on-ramping (e.g., transfer recognition, credentialing), placement of scholars in graduate programs, and in-house residency for eligible faculty (including housing and employment). State-wide efforts to reduce tuition for immigrants and refugees are being actively explored as models for assisting refugees on a state-by-state basis.
  3. Mobilize to reinforce a refugee welcoming movement in the United States. Based on NASH’s experience partnering with systems to develop an Equity Action Collaborative, there is evidence of systems already leveraging existing resources for such efforts ranging from welcome centers, Dream Centers, College Promise, and other inclusive on-campus offerings.