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Gilbert to serve on D.C. panel about refugee resettlement

Former Lewiston mayor Larry Gilbert has been invited to serve on a panel at the 2012 U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops/Migrant and Refugee Services National, which runs from May 9 to 11 in Washington, D.C.

He will serve as a panelist on “Engaging Receiving Communities in Immigrant Integration Plenary,” which will take place on Friday, May 11.

Susan Downs-Karkos, Bates College graduate of Denver, Colorado Welcoming America Initiative, will be the moderator of the panel. In addition to Gilbert, panelists will include Robin Jones of the Office of Refugee Resettlement and Rachel Steinhardt of Welcoming America in Washington, D.C.

The goal of the panel is to help participants: gain a better understanding of the concept of receiving communities and how to apply it to their refugee resettlement work; learn how to engage local leaders in their work; understand the uniqueness of receiving communities; and be motivated to join the receiving communities movement.

Gilbert will show the CBS Evening News clip, which appeared on April 11, 2009 on the Somali Assimilation in Lewiston. He will follow that with the story of Lewiston.

“It is critical to gain the support of mainstream leaders such as myself in order to help promote a more welcoming climate,” Gilbert said. “I will explain how I became involved with the immigrant and refugee community of Lewiston. I will also explain why, after leaving office, I have chosen to stay involved in immigrant integration.”

Gilbert said he will detail how he and other community members have tried to engage newly elected municipal officials. “I will also provide advice to participants on what to do and what not to do when approaching leaders of the community to include elected officials,” he said.

For more information on the conference see:



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