Event: Welcoming Afghan Refugees

Little girl looking at camera. Text reads'Welcoming Refugees, a mayors-only roundtable'

Welcoming Afghan Refugees: A Mayors-only Roundtable
Wednesday, October 27

1pm PT/2pm MT/3pm CT/4pm ET

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We all watched the upsetting footage out of Afghanistan in August as refugees fled the country.

Since then there has been an outpouring of support from the American public to help, but more needs to be done to support recently-arrived Afghans and other refugees to ensure they can thrive and contribute in their new communities. What can mayors do right now to support refugees, and how should they lead in the coming months? Join us to learn more.

We invite mayors to join us for this interactive and informal roundtable, led by your peers.

Joining us to kick off the discussion:

Mayor Kim Norton, Rochester, MN

Kim Norton became the first woman Mayor of Rochester, Minnesota in 2018 and took office on January 1, 2019. Most recently Kim won a Bush Fellowship which allowed her to complete a master’s degree at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public affairs focused on leadership and energy policy. This work allowed her to investigate communities noted for their sustainability and livability.

Prior to her fellowship, Kim served in the Minnesota House of Representatives, representing District 25B, consisting mostly of the northern portion of the city of Rochester in Olmsted County in the southeastern part of the state. During her 10 years as a legislator, Kim introduced many pieces of significant legislation including the Destination Medical Center (DMC) economic development project aimed at positioning Rochester as a premier location for health care. Before serving on the state legislature, Kim served 8 years, including one as board chair of the Rochester Public School Board.

Also joining us to provide updates on the still unfolding crisis:

Headshot of Kristen AsterKristen Aster has been with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) since February 2016. She is currently the Resettlement, Asylum, and Integration (RAI) headquarters Director for Client and Community Engagement, supporting more than 26 IRC offices across the United States and Europe as they strengthen relationships with their local communities, develop civil society partners, and strengthen the influence clients have in IRC operations and their local communities. Previously she served on IRC’s US Programs Policy and Advocacy team. She also previously worked at Refugee Council USA, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), and the San Diego-based Hunger Advocacy Network. She has a Master’s degree in Public Policy and a Certificate in Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies from Georgetown University, and a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Point Loma Nazarene University. She is currently based in Los Angeles, California.

Molly Hilligoss serves as a Network Director at Welcoming America where she oversees the overarching strategy to maintain, and grow, a membership network of municipalities and nonprofit organizations in the U.S.  In this position, she is responsible for leading the network team, as well as the development, and implementation of a wide array of programs and Initiatives focused on community-wide immigrant integration strategy and the cultivation of a culture where everyone belongs. Molly has more than a decade of experience in capacity building, equity work, and is strongly committed to building community through constructive dialogue and meaningful action. She attended Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where she studied Social and Global Studies. She previously held nonprofit positions in Michigan, Colorado, and Wisconsin. She currently lives in the western Wisconsin city of La Crosse with her wife and young sons.

By request from our network, this event is only open to mayors. However, we will provide all registered mayors with a toolkit of resources and key takeaways to share afterward with city staff.

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