The Foreign Service Journal, November 2023

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | NOVEMBER 2023 49 Jada Ruiz, a Russell Sage College student, designed a children’s coloring book, titled “I Belong in Albany,” to help children learn the English alphabet and iconic places in Albany, New York. To answer these questions, I will describe my own efforts on a college campus and how our work dovetails with the State Department’s new Welcome Corps initiative. Every Campus A Refuge Program In 2015, as a professor of English at Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina, I was teaching students how to read and discuss poetry and prose. But when Syrian Aylan Kurdi drowned and his little body was found on the shore of a resort town in Türkiye that September, what I was trying to do in the classroom felt, suddenly, quite futile. What happens to human beings who are forced to leave in search of safety and security has always been personal to me, the daughter of Palestinian refugees, and certainly in a vocational and professional sense—it was there in the literature that I taught, the events I held on campus, and the student clubs I advised. That summer, in reaction to the situation of many Syrians both in their home country and on their desperate journey to escape it, Pope Francis called on every parish in Europe to host a refugee family. I saw in his call an invocation to all small communities around the world to engage in radical hospitality, including U.S. colleges and universities. It was then I decided to found Every Campus A Refuge (ECAR). ECAR, now a 501(c)(3), started as an initiative at Guilford College, a small, private liberal arts Quaker institution in North Carolina. We began by opening up our college resources, hosting refugee arrivals to Greensboro on our campus grounds and supporting their resettlement and integration in our midsize city. We provided free housing and utilities and access to college amenities, facilities, and resources, not least of which was community support. A dedicated cohort of student, faculty, and staff volunteers walked alongside our newest neighbors in their efforts to make a home for themselves in their country of resettlement. We modeled ourselves on the Pope’s inspiration, realizing that like a parish, a small city, we had all the resources needed to support a newly arriving family (a campus-owned house, a cafeteria, a clinic, a library, a gym, even a farm). And we leveraged it all when we hosted refugees—including our musical instruments for a singersongwriter, our international student club’s soccer pickup games for one family’s teenage son who loved playing the sport, and our art department’s supplies and studio and then a gallery for a calligraphist (hosted along with his wife and three sons) who created artwork and then exhibited it on campus. Since our first hosted guest, Cheps, arrived on a snowy day in January 2016, we’ve hosted nearly 90 refugees on Guilford’s campus—families as large as 11 and single people alike from Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Venezuela, and Colombia. And inspired by the Pope, we called on other universities and colleges to do the same. Years ago, when we first started ECAR at Guilford College, I quickly realized that my students were learning a lot by working alongside, and with, the refugee families we were hosting on our campus. It made perfect sense to institutionalize this learning by developing curricular and co-curricular programming that allowed students to do this work in ways that officially and formally supported their learning; so we started a minor (Forced Migration and Resettlement Studies) where students could earn credit in return for their work. Through a recent study, published in the journal Metropolitan Universities, my colleagues and I found that students who participated in ECAR and took the minor felt “a positive impact on their career development,” “gained a working understanding … of the global refugee crisis” and its impact on “specific individuals and families over the long term,” and “developed a long-term vision for transforming the social role of postsecondary educational institutions.” The State Department’s Welcome Corps Program In January 2023, something remarkable happened. The U.S. Department of State launched Welcome Corps, charting another path in welcoming refugees under DIYA ABDO