The Foreign Service Journal, November 2023

50 NOVEMBER 2023 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP). Until Welcome Corps, refugee resettlement and integration had happened through the U.S. resettlement agencies, nonprofit organizations that welcome and support refugees professionally. Under Welcome Corps, ordinary Americans can now privately and directly sponsor refugees, geographically broadening the scope of this work and grounding refugee support in community-based efforts—a crucial development in creating opportunities for direct community engagement with refugees to demystify and humanize a frequently mystified and dehumanized population. In July 2023, the Welcome Corps went a step further and announced the launch of Welcome Corps on Campus, a new official education sponsorship program. This campus expansion to Welcome Corps allows individuals associated with colleges and universities across the country to sponsor refugee students approved for resettlement in the United States while pursuing their higher education. According to the UNHCR, refugee access to higher education is a devastating 6 percent compared to the global average of 41 percent. As part of a consortium led by the Community Sponsorship Hub, ECAR the 501(c)(3) will be providing technical assistance, training, resources, and ongoing support to university and college sponsor groups as they support the academic success as well as the resettlement and integration of sponsored refugee students. The Crucial Role of Diplomats and Educators Alike Members of the foreign affairs communities, local and foreign governments, and academia have a crucial role to play in advancing deeper engagement with refugee issues at higher education institutions (in the U.S. and globally). They can reach out to their alma maters and other universities and colleges they are connected with about ECAR and encourage starting a chapter. They can also volunteer with existing ECAR efforts to take on some resettlement tasks. For example, in Stillwater, a local retired CIA officer was incredibly helpful in Oklahoma State University’s efforts, using her organizational skills and drive to make sure every Afghan family hosted by OSU had sufficient food when they moved to town. Diplomats in residence at universities and colleges could include ECAR-related efforts in their portfolios. During speaking tours, they could raise awareness in their speeches at higher education institutions about the refugee crisis and the ways in which universities and colleges partner with ECAR. If in a position to do so, they can also consider incentivizing higher education participation in ECAR and similar programming through grant funding, research opportunities, and educational programming. Consider leveraging your own important networks and connections to impress upon higher education decision-makers in the U.S. and abroad the importance of this work. We all have an important part to play in transforming how we do higher education and how we do refugee resettlement, and how these two spheres can be innovatively and irrevocably linked. The Value-Add In my conversations with the leaders at resettlement campuses across the country, I was struck by the expansive valueadd of the work. One campus leader described its effect as “collateral benefit”: supporting the Afghan women hosted on their campus and paying attention to their dietary and cultural needs fostered a change in attentiveness and response to all students’ needs, especially international students. For many resettlement campuses, this work aligns not only with efforts to internationalize university programming and partnerships but also allows participating students to hone their Hosted refugee Blaise Pascal performs on Guilford College’s campus. AUTUMN HOLLIFIELD PHOTOGRAPHY