Blog

Refugee Congress Welcomes New Delegates

Refugee Congress is very excited to welcome new Delegates to represent six states. We are pleased to introduce: Delegate for Alaska: Mahdi Akal Mahdi is a former refugee originally from Somalia and lived in multiple Middle Eastern countries before resettling in Alaska in 2014. He works as an educator at the Anchorage Museum. Delegate for Kansas – Gedeon Bahemuka Jino […]

Refugee Congress Congratulates President-Elect Biden & Vice-President-Elect Harris

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Nov. 9, 2020 WASHINGTON—Refugee Congress congratulates President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris. “We are encouraged by President-Elect Biden’s stated commitment to welcome refugees and immigrants, restore the refugee resettlement program and provide asylum protections,” said Lourena Gboeah, Chairperson of the Refugee Congress Board of Directors and Delegate for Delaware. “We look forward to working with the […]

Mahdi Akal

State: Alaska Country of Origin: Somalia Mahdi Akal is the Refugee Congress Delegate for Alaska and an educator at the Anchorage Museum. Akal is a former refugee originally from Somalia and was raised in multiple Middle Eastern countries before resettling in Alaska from Egypt in 2014.

Refugee Congress Denounces Record-Low Refugee Admissions Goal

Refugee Congress strongly denounces the Trump Administration’s new record-low refugee admissions goal of just 15,000 refugees — which includes 6,000 spots that went unused in fiscal year 2020. Since taking office, the Trump Administration has been dismantling and destroying the U.S. refugee resettlement program. The program has historically had strong bipartisan support, with a historic norm over the past four […]

Gedeon Bahemuka Jino

State: Kansas Country of Origin: Democratic Republic of Congo Gedeon Bahemuka Jino is the Refugee Congress Delegate for Kansas. He was born and grew up in a village called Mandro, located in Djugu Territory, Ituri Province in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Gedeon works with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Kansas. He is married to Francine Pachu […]

Victoria Barmak

State: Missouri Country of Origin: Former Soviet Union Victoria Barmak is the Refugee Congress Delegate for Missouri. She came to the U.S. as a refugee from the Soviet Union in 1990. Her first memories in this country are a mix of stress and anxiety: a teenager, who had suddenly found herself in the role of her parents’ parent, she became […]

Umesh Acharya

State: Vermont Arrival in the US: 2012 Umesh Acharya is the Refugee Congress Delegate for Vermont. Growing up in a refugee camp in Nepal, Umesh understood the feeling of being considered “less than” others. Soon after his arrival in the U.S. in 2012, Umesh started advocating for health equity and social justice. He worked for a local school district as […]

Sang Rem

State: Oklahoma Country of Origin: Burma/Myanmar Sang Rem is the Refugee Congress Delegate for Oklahoma. She came to United States as resettled refugee from Burma/Myanmar when she was 15 years old. Sang has three brothers and two sisters. Her family came to the United States through the Malaysia UN office and did not speak any English when they arrived. She […]

Tshishiku Henry

State: Washington Country of Origin: Democratic Republic of the Congo Arrival in the U.S.: 2018 Tshishiku Henry is the Refugee Congress Delegate for Washington State. He was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and arrived in the United States in 2018 after fleeing conflicts in his home country. Tshishiku is passionate about helping and working with immigrants and refugees […]

Refugee Congress Condemns Racism Directed at the Asian American Pacific Islander Community

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct. 8, 2020 WASHINGTON–Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a national and international upsurge of racism directly targeted at the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. There has been an increase in harassment, verbal attacks, social media bullying and physical attacks against AAPIs. According to the Stop AAPI Hate reporting site, there have […]

Refugee Congress Denounces the Administration’s Proposal to Resettle the Lowest Number of Refugees in U.S. History

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct. 1, 2020 WASHINGTON – Refugee Congress strongly denounces the Trump Administration’s proposal to resettle just 15,000 refugees this year — the lowest refugee admissions goal in U.S. history. Since taking office, the Trump Administration has sought to dismantle and destroy the U.S. refugee resettlement program. Last year, the Administration did not set a refugee admissions goal […]

‘Refugees know what it means to live with uncertainty’

Refugee Congress Delegate Ekhlas Ahmed (Maine) talks about coping with the uncertainty of the COVID pandemic and the work she is doing to support fellow community members: “Refugees fill these rolls, because we want to give back to the country that welcomed us. But we also do it because selflessness eases our suffering. I became an ESOL teacher five years […]