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Idaho Office for Refugees to host hybrid annual conference with workshops on resettlement

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Author and activist Edafe Okporo will share the keynote address at the Idaho Conference on Refugees about his story of seeking asylum in the U.S. and becoming an advocate for inclusion. (Courtesy of the Idaho Office for Refugees)

The Idaho Office for Refugees will offer workshops and participants will hear updates on state and national resettlement trends at its two-day, 14th annual Idaho Conference on Refugees, according to a press release.

The conference, which will have virtual and in-person registration options this year, has the theme of “Belonging Begins With Us.” The conference will be Feb. 28 and March 1.

The conference connects community members from diverse backgrounds and provides training for professionals and volunteers who work with refugee and immigrant populations, the press release said. Organizers will offer workshops designed for educators, social workers, health care providers, new Americans, resettlement staff and interested community members as Idaho returns to traditional levels of refugee resettlement following five years of decreased arrivals.

Attendees will hear from those who have experienced the resettlement process firsthand. Author and activist Edafe Okporo will share the keynote address about his story of seeking asylum in the U.S. and becoming an advocate for inclusion.

The keynote speaker grew up in Nigeria and had to flee for his life when international recognition outed him at home. Now a resident of New York City, he is a global gay rights activist and founder of The Pont. He is one of the country’s most visible voices on the issue of displacement. The U.S. mobilization director for Talent Beyond Boundaries, he directs programs to win labor mobility pathways for refugees nationwide. He is author of ASYLUM, A Memoir and Manifesto.

“For decades Idaho’s receiving community has wrapped its arms around new arrivals to let them know they belong,” said Tara Wolfson, director of the Idaho Office for Refugees, in the release. “Our conference gives us a chance to come together and learn from each other and from experts so we can make Idaho a stronger place for everyone.”

Masks will be provided and required for those who attend the event in person.

For registration details, COVID-19 safety policies and a schedule of speakers and workshops, go to idahorefugees.org. Registration is $125 for the two-day in-person event, with meals provided, or $90 for the virtual event. Scholarships are available, and fees are waived for attendees from refugee and asylee backgrounds. Interpretation services will be available at the conference.