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Wednesday, Nov 21, 2018

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Refugee Youth Roundtable Discussion group photo

OHIO students at the Refugee Youth Roundtable discussion

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Global Leadership Center, CIS assist with Refugee Youth Roundtable Discussion


Ohio University’s Global Leadership Center and Center for International Studies played a key role in the Refugee Youth Roundtable Discussion, held on Sept. 25 at the Ohio History Connection in Columbus.

More than 60 community members attended the event, which was focused on finding ways to improve refugee youth integration in Central Ohio. US Together helped to organize the event as part of the New American Advisory Council (NAAC). The event was one of two across the country sponsored by Welcoming America through a grant by the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

The Roundtable was organized with the goal of being a first step toward making a community action plan for refugee youth integration. By bringing together high school students who are refugees to engage in dialogue with educators, social service providers, and policymakers, participants identified key areas to address in their effort to make Central Ohio a more welcoming place for young refugees.. 

Representatives from the Global Leadership Center and the Center for International Studies served as facilitators, along with representatives from the Ohio History Connection’s Emerging New Americans Community Team. Through the work of the facilitators, the event gave youth a platform engage in an equitable and democratic dialogue with adult community leaders. 

By asking adults to come to the table simply as people, rather than professionals, the Roundtable gave youth a unique opportunity to speak openly about their own experiences as equals, without feeling like they were being taught or burdened with the responsibility of speaking for all of their peers.

“It felt really good to be heard. My shoulders are not so heavy,” one high school student said after the event.

The NAAC will host a follow-up meeting in October to narrow-down and build on the priorities identified at the Roundtable, and later will present a community action plan to the Franklin County Board of Commissioners.

For additional information, please contact the Global Leadership Center at glc@ohio.edu or by calling 740-597-2794.