Delegates

Alabama: Tuan Do

State: Alabama
City of Residence: Mobile, Alabama
Country of origin: Vietnam
Arrival in the U.S.: 1993
Mr. Tuan Do is a Vietnamese refugee who came to the United States in 1993. He currently resides in Mobile, Alabama with his wife and daughter. He works as a program coordinator at Boat ...
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California: Jacque Larrainzar

State: Washington Country of origin: Mexico Arrival in the U.S.: 1997 Ms. Jacque Larrainzar came to the United States from Mexico in 1997, and was the first Mexican lesbian to win political asylum in the United States on the basis of her sexual orientation. Ms. Larrainzar currently lives in Seattle, ...
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Colorado: Shambel Zeru

State: Colorado City of Residence: Aurora, Colorado Country of origin: Eritrea Arrival in the U.S.: 2013 Mr. Shambel Zeru fled violence in Eritrea and was resettled to Aurora, Colorado in 2013. He is currently a high school student, and says that one day he would like to go back to ...
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Connecticut: Esmail Dezhbod

State: Connecticut
City of Residence: Naugatuck, Connecticut
Country of origin: Iran
Arrival in the U.S.: 2000
Mr. Esmail Dezhbod fled religious persecution in Iran and was resettled to Connecticut with his wife and three young children in 2000. When the Iranian Revolution began, the university he was attending was shut ...
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Delaware: Lourena Gboeah

State: Delaware
City of Residence: New Castle, Delaware
Country of origin: Liberia
Arrival in the U.S.: 1992
Ms. Lourena Gboeah was resettled to the United States in 1992 when she was only four years old after her family fled the war in Liberia and the continuous harassment from government soldiers ...
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Florida: Basma Alawee

State: Florida
City of Residence: Atlantic Beach, Florida
Country of origin: Iraq
Arrival in the U.S.: 2010
Ms. Basma Alawee her husband were forced to flee Iraq when her family was targeted due to her husband’s employment by an American company. Ms. Alawee now lives in Atlantic Beach, Florida with ...
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Georgia: Sheriff Samsudeen Phatey

State: Georgia City of Residence: Acworth, Georgia Country of origin: Gambia Arrival in the U.S.: 2008 Mr. Sheriff Samsudeen Phatey came to the United States from the Gambia by himself in 2008 at the age of 18. Mr. Phatey was born into a political family in the Gambia, and at ...
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Hawaii: Valdir Solera

State: Hawaii
City of Residence: Wailiku, Hawaii
Country of origin: Brazil
Arrival in the U.S.: 2013
Mr. Valdir Solera came to the United States from Brazil in 2013. He now lives in Wailiku, Hawaii where he works as a tourist guide and environmentalist. He volunteers every week to protect the ...
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Idaho: Fidel Nshombo

State: Idaho
City of Residence: Boise, Idaho
Country of origin: Democratic Republic of the Congo
Arrival in the U.S.: 2006
Originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mr. Fidel Nshombo was resettled to the United States in 2006 and currently resides in Boise, Idaho with his wife and four ...
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Tek Darnal

State: Illinois City of Residence: Evanston, Illinois Country of origin: Bhutan Arrival in the U.S.: 2008 Mr. Tek Darnal and his family fled Bhutan in 1992 to escape persecution, and were resettled to the United States in 2008. Now he owns his own home and business in Evanston, Illinois, where ...
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Indiana: Myo Myint

State: Indiana City of Residence: Fort Wayne, Indiana Country of origin: Myanmar Arrival in the U.S.: 2008 Mr. Myo Myint is a refugee who fled Myanmar after being persecuted, imprisoned, and tortured for his support of the National League for Democracy. He arrived in the United States in 2008 and ...
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Iowa: Zeljka Krvavica

State: Iowa
City of Residence: Des Moines, Iowa
Country of origin: Bosnia and Herzegovina
Arrival in the U.S.: 1993
Ms. Zeljka Krvavica is a refugee from Bosnia and Herzegovina who was resettled to the United States in 1993. She currently lives in Des Moines, Iowa with her husband and works ...
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Mukhtar Ahmed

State: Kentucky City of Residence: Louisville, Kentucky Country of origin: Somalia Arrival in the U.S.: 2009 Mr. Mukhtar Ahmed is a Somali refugee who was reunited with his family in Louisville, Kentucky in 2009. After being displaced many times and becoming separated from his family, Mr. Ahmed fled to Kenya ...
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Louisiana:: Dauda Sesay 

State:  Louisiana City of Residence:  Baton Rouge Country of Origin:  Sierra Leone Arrival in the U.S.:  2009 Dauda fled Sierra Leone due to the brutal war that led to the murder of his father and younger sister. While he was fleeing the military and the rebels, he was shot and ...
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Maine: Ekhlas Ismail Ahmed

State: Maine City of Residence: Portland, Maine Country of origin: Sudan Arrival in the U.S.: 2005 Ms. Ekhlas Ahmed was forced to flee the outbreak of civil war in Sudan with her mother, father, and three younger brothers in 2003. Her family was resettled to Portland, Maine, where she earned ...
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Maryland: Beni DeDieu Luzau

State: Maryland City of Residence: Silver Spring, Maryland Country of origin: Democratic Republic of the Congo Arrival in the U.S.: 2008 Mr. Beni DeDieu Luzau fled the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2004 to avoid imprisonment for his advocacy work on LGBTI issues and HIV/AIDS awareness. In the U.S. he ...
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Eugenie Mukeshimana

State: Maryland City of Residence: Baltimore, Maryland Country of origin: Rwanda Arrival in the U.S.: 2001 Ms. Eugenie Mukeshimana is a survivor of the Rwandan Genocide. After struggling with this traumatic experience for nearly eight years, she and her daughter finally left in 2001 for the United States and were ...
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Massachusetts: Tegene Feyissa

State: Massachusetts
City of Residence: Melrose, Massachusetts
Country of origin: Ethiopia
Arrival in the U.S.: 2009
Mr. Tegene Feyissa fled Ethiopia in 2009 and was granted asylum in the United States. He lives in Melrose, Massachusetts, where he was reunited with his two sons and wife. He now and works ...
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Michigan: Ayman Okar

State: Michigan
City of Residence: Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan
Country of origin: Syria
Arrival in the U.S.: 2012
Mr. Ayman Okar is originally from Syria, and came to the United States in 2012 on a visa. Mr. Okar currently lives in Michigan with his wife and twin sons where he ...
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Michigan: Jihan Daman

State: Michigan
City of Residence: Livonia, Michigan
Country of origin: Iraq
Arrival in the U.S.: 1985
Ms. Jihan Daman was resettled to the United States from Iraq with her family in 1985, and she currently lives in Livonia, Michigan. Ms. Daman is the founder and president of two social services ...
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Fatuma Elmi

State: Minnesota City of Residence: Columbia Heights, Minnesota Country of origin: Somalia Arrival in the U.S.: 1991 Ms. Fatuma Elmi fled the civil war in Somalia and came to Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1991, where she was granted Temporary Protection Status. Immediately after arriving, Ms. Elmi began volunteering with Lutheran Social ...
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Missouri: Jagat Acharya

State: Missouri City of Residence: St. Louis, Missouri Country of origin: Bhutan Arrival in the U.S.: 2010 Mr. Jagat Acharya is a recently-resettled refugee who was forced to flee Bhutan when his family was targeted by the Bhutanese police. Mr. Acharya came to the United States in 2010 and currently ...
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Montana: Wilmot Collins

State: Montana
City of Residence: Helena, Montana
Country of origin: Liberia
Arrival in the U.S.: 1994
Mr. Wilmot Collins is a refugee from Liberia who was forced to flee the Liberian civil war after the ceasefire collapsed and two of his brothers were killed by rebels and government soldiers. Mr ...
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Nebraska: Karna Gurung

State: Nebraska
City of Residence: Omaha, Nebraska
Country of origin: Bhutan
Arrival in the U.S.: 2009
Mr. Karna Gurung is a refugee from Bhutan who was resettled to the United States in 2009. His family fled Bhutan after the government seized their home and farmland, and tortured his father. He ...
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Nevada: Biar Atem

State: Nevada City of Residence: Las Vegas, Nevada Country of origin: South Sudan Arrival in the U.S.: 2001 In 1987, when Mr. Atem was seven years old, civil war drove him and another estimated 20,000 boys from their families and villages in southern Sudan. This group of children who fled ...
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New Hampshire: Tika Acharya

State: New Hampshire City of Residence: Manchester, New Hampshire Country of origin: Bhutan Arrival in the U.S.: 2009 Mr. Tika Acharya and his family fled Bhutan in 1992, after seeking freedom from the oppressive regime in Bhutan. They lived as refugees in Nepal for 17 years before, he and his ...
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Shabnam Baidariwal

State: New Jersey City of Residence: Elizabeth, New Jersey Country of origin: Afghanistan Arrival in the U.S.: 2011 Ms. Shabnam Baidariwal was advised by the U.S. Department of State to leave Afghanistan in 2011 after the Taliban attacked branches of her organization and threatened her and her husband’s lives. They ...
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New Mexico: Martin Ndayisenga

State: New Mexico City of Residence: Albuquerque, New Mexico Country of origin: Burundi Arrival in the U.S.: 2007 Mr. Martin Ndayisenga is a Burundian refugee who was resettled to New Mexico with his wife in 2007. He was just ten years old when he was separated from his parents and ...
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New York: George Tarr

State: New York City of Residence: Staten Island, New York Country of origin: Liberia Arrival in the U.S.: 1999 Mr. George Tarr and his family were forced to flee Liberia in 1998 during the brutal civil war where they were at risk of being targeted because of his grandfather’s work ...
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North Carolina: Kamal Dhimal

State: North Carolina
City of Residence: Charlotte, North Carolina
Country of origin: Bhutan
Arrival in the U.S.: 2010
Mr. Kamal Dhimal is a Bhutanese refugee who was forced to flee persecution in Bhutan at the age of six after his father was imprisoned and killed. He and his family lived ...
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North Dakota: Kalisa Ndikumwimana

State: North Dakota
City of Residence: Fargo, North Dakota
Country of origin: Democratic Republic of the Congo
Arrival in the U.S.: 2011
Mr. Kalisa Ndikumwimana is a refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who was resettled in Fargo, North Dakota in 2011. He currently lives and works in ...
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Ohio: Norah Bagirinka

State: Ohio City of Residence: Columbus, Ohio Country of origin: Rwanda Arrival in the U.S.: 2005 Ms. Norah Bagirinka is a survivor of the Rwandan genocide and was resettled to the United States in 2005. In Rwanda she directed a program with the International Rescue Committee that aided female victims ...
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Hari Niroula

State: Ohio City of Residence: Blacklick, Ohio Country of origin: Bhutan Arrival in the U.S.: 2008 Mr. Hari Niroula is a refugee from Bhutan who came to the United States in 2008. He currently lives in Blacklick, Ohio with his wife and daughter, where he works as a language interpreter ...
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Oregon: Som Nath Subedi

State: Oregon City of Residence: Portland, Oregon Country of origin: Bhutan Arrival in the U.S.: 2008 Mr. Som Nath Subedi was one of around 100,000 victims of Bhutan’s “One Nation, One People” policy, which expelled his family from their homeland. He lived in a Nepalese refugee camp for almost two ...
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Pennsylvania: Joseph Sackor

State: Pennsylvania
City of Residence: Levittown, Pennsylvania
Country of origin: Liberia
Arrival in the U.S.: 1999
Mr. Joseph Sackor was two months away from graduating college when war broke out in Liberia and he and his family were forced to flee to neighboring Guinea. Before being resettled, Mr. Sackor served ...
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Rhode Island: Omar Bah

State: Rhode Island
City of Residence: Providence, Rhode Island
Country of origin: Gambia
Arrival in the U.S.: 2007
Mr. Omah Bah is a journalist from the Gambia who resettled in the United States as a refugee in 2007. Mr. Bah was arrested several times and tortured by the dictatorial regime ...
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South Dakota: Clara Hart

State: South Dakota
City of Residence: Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Country of origin: Mozambique
Arrival in the US: 1988
Ms. Clara Hart fled Mozambique in the 1960s in fear of political persecution. She was resettled to the United States in 1988 and currently lives in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She ...
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Texas: Alexis Niyonkuru

State: Texas City of Residence: Houston, Texas Country of origin: Burundi Arrival in the U.S.: 2007 Mr. Alexis Niyonkuru is a refugee from Burundi who was resettled to Houston, Texas in 2007. Shortly after his arrival to the U.S., Mr. Niyonkuru decided to join the Gary Job Corps Center, and ...
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Hadidja Nyiransekuye

State: Texas City of Residence: Denton, Texas Country of origin: Rwanda Arrival in the U.S.: 2000 Ms. Hadidja Nyiransekuye is a survivor of the Rwandan Genocide. She was sponsored to come to the United States in 1998 based on her teaching experience and education background, as well as her extensive ...
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Jean-Claude Mauridi

State: Texas City of Residence: Fort Worth, Texas Country of origin: Democratic Republic of the Congo Arrival in the U.S.: 1999 Mr. Jean-Claude Mauridi was 16 years old when war broke out in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He fled his country in order to avoid recruitment by the ...
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Ghana Dulal

State: Utah City of Residence: Salt Lake City, Utah Country of origin: Bhutan Arrival in the U.S.: 2008 Mr. Gyanu Dulal was a 20-year-old college student when he was forced to flee Bhutan in 1991. He spent the next 18 years living and working as a teacher in a refugee ...
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Utah:: Fatima Dirie

State: Utah City of Residence: Salt Lake City Country of origin: Somalia Arrival in the US: 1997 Fatima Dirie is the Refugee Community Liasion for the Salt Lake City Mayor’s office. Fatima was born in Somalia, and lived in Kenya for several years before coming to the United States. She ...
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Vermont: Puspa Luitel

State: Vermont
City of Residence: Charlotte, Vermont
Country of origin: Bhutan
Arrival in the U.S.: 2008
Mr. Puspa Luitel is a refugee from Bhutan who was resettled in the United States in 2008. He currently resides in Charlotte, Vermont with his wife and daughter. Mr. Luitel recently graduated from Vermont ...
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Virginia: Farjam Behnam

State: Virginia
City of Residence: Springfield, Virginia
Country of origin: Iran
Arrival in the U.S.: 2008
Mr. Farjam Behnam was granted asylum in the United States after fleeing Iran in 2008. In Iran Mr. Behnam managed a news website and wrote political bulletins that were widely distributed to embassies, universities, ...
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Thon Moses Chol

State: D.C. City of Residence: Washington, D.C. Country of origin: Sudan Arrival in the U.S.: 2000 Reverent Thon Moses Chol was only four years old when the war in Sudan forced him to flee his village as a “Lost Boy” and fend for himself before being resettled as an unaccompanied minor. Mr ...
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Wisconsin: Natasa Torbica

State: Wisconsin
City of Residence: Hales Corners, Wisconsin
Country of origin: Bosnia and Herzegovina
Arrival in the U.S.: 1998
Ms. Natasa Torbica was resettled to Wisconsin with her husband and children in 1998 after being forced to flee Yugoslavia in the early 1990’s due to the ongoing conflict. She had ...
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Wyoming: Bertine Bahige

State: Wyoming City of Residence: Gillette, Wyoming Country of origin: Democratic Republic of the Congo Arrival in the U.S.: 2003 Mr. Bertine Bahige fled the Democratic Republic of the Congo at the age of 15 when rebels raided his house and tried to forcibly recruit him. Traveling alone, he undertook ...
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