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Speakers Bureau engages community to learn more about refugees

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future. In Salt Lake City, the IRC assists hundreds of refugees each year as they adjust to their new home and become self-reliant. As we do this, we draw upon community support—volunteers willing to tutor and donate, employers willing to hire, and landlords willing to rent—to make our mission possible.

Many community members, however, remain unaware or curious to learn more about what the IRC in Salt Lake City does and who refugees are in our community and around the world. To meet this interest, the Speakers Bureau was formed, comprised of knowledgeable staff members and long-time volunteers who work to educate the community about the mission of the IRC and the refugees we serve.

Speakers Bureau members at the International Rescue Committee in Salt Lake City can present on a variety of topics.
Pamela Silberman, health program manager and member of the Speakers Bureau at the IRC in Salt Lake City, speaks to a group about gender equity initiatives focused on refugees populations in Utah. Photo: Maggie Taylor/IRC

Since being formed in 2017, the Speakers Bureau works to reach hundreds of community members each year, educating them about some of their newest neighbors and ways that they can be involved as their new neighbors acclimate and integrate into their new home.

“The Speakers Bureau was formed out of growing demand from our community—they wanted to learn more about refugees, the process of resettlement, and our work in Utah. For some, this was the first time they encountered this information,” Jesse Sheets, development manager, explains. “The Speakers Bureau offers the opportunity for IRC staff members to directly relate accurate and compelling information about some of the most vulnerable people around the world and in our community.”

Over the years, Salt Lake City has become home to thousands of refugees. The IRC in Salt Lake City opened its doors in 1994 to meet the needs of refugees being resettled in Utah. Throughout those 25 years, we have resettled nearly 12,000 individuals. With two-year case management services and a robust variety of programs, the IRC in Salt Lake City helps hundreds of newly arrived refugee families and individuals feel comfortable and welcome in their new home each year.

Are you interested in hearing from a member of our Speakers Bureau? Learn more about the Speakers Bureau and request a representative to come to your next gathering by visiting Rescue.org/SpeakerSLC.

For additional information, please email us at SaltLakeCity [at] rescue.org.