CORE’s First Anniversary
The Cultural Orientation Resource Exchange was officially launched on March 15, 2015, so we have just passed the one-year mark. In addition to recruiting a full staff and setting up our office in Silver Spring, Maryland, other highlights of the first year include designing and launching the CORE website, producing the CAM Backgrounder, hosting the CO Leadership Workshop, and fostering the CO Leadership Network. We also worked to establish relationships, channels of communications, and a network among Resettlement Support Center and Resettlement Agency staff and many others working in the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.
We felt especially honored by a brief visit from Secretary of State John Kerry in January. While visiting the resettlement center in Silver Spring to visit refugees and resettlement staff and demonstrate the administration’s commitment to refugee resettlement, Secretary Kerry took the opportunity to tour CORE’s office and converse with our staff.
Overseas Cultural Orientation Providers to Visit U.S. for CORE Workshop
CORE is currently preparing for our first Overseas CO Providers Workshop to take place May 30 to June 10, 2016. This workshop will be a first-of-its-kind, experiential training event designed to build the capacity of select Resettlement Support Center CO providers by immersing them in the resettlement experience from the refugees’ perspective. Participants will come to the United States for two weeks, first as IOM operational escorts for refugees traveling from their overseas locations to their final destination in the U.S., then as participant-observers at local resettlement offices around the country. By spending the first few days with refugees in their new environs across the U.S., these CO providers will gain an enhanced and realistic perspective of the resettlement process.
In order to maximize the value of the Workshop experience, CORE will also tutor the participants to assume a role of Peer Mentors to other CO Providers at their home work stations. To do this, CORE will work virtually with participants and their supervisors both before and after the workshop. During their time in the United States, CORE will work with them in a coaching capacity by conducting two mid-week conference calls and by bringing them together in Silver Spring, Maryland for analysis and synthesis of their experience. Participants will be expected to keep and share a professional journal of their experiences and contribute to a final project that will summarize their learning experiences in a way that can be useful to both overseas and domestic CO providers. These final projects will take the form of presentations that participants can share with their colleagues upon their return. Presentations will also be made available on the CORE website.
Bhutanese refugees arriving in the U.S. (Photo: IRC)