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Inside our advocacy

The IRC’s advocacy leverages our work on the ground and our expert knowledge informed by research and practice to ensure refugees and other displaced people have what they need not only to survive, but to rebuild and thrive in new communities. We mobilize to shift the agenda in the United States, Europe and around the globe on behalf of people affected by crisis.

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Promoting U.S. refugee resettlement and asylum

The U.S. has a long history of providing welcome to those needing safety. For decades, life-saving protection for refugees has been possible through the U.S. resettlement program and asylum. Today, we see these pathways to safety for those who have fled persecution and violence coming under attack, leaving some of the world’s most vulnerable people behind. Every day, our team is hard at work advocating for solutions for refugees, asylum seekers, asylees, Temporary Protected Status recipients, DREAMers and other marginalized people worldwide.

Protecting and aiding civilians in conflict

In conflicts around the world, the targeting of civilians and their homes, schools, hospitals and other infrastructure has become routine. People are cut off from food, water and lifesaving assistance. The IRC advocates with global leaders for actions that uphold the laws of war, protect civilians in conflict, hold violators to account and allow humanitarian organizations to have greater access to people in need.

Transforming aid to meet changing needs

In 2018, less than 3 percent of refugees went home. The vast majority struggle to get by in countries unable to meet their needs. Most relief efforts are focused on food, shelter and basic health care—but refugees also require education and livelihoods opportunities if they are to rebuild their lives. The IRC strives for “better aid” that delivers assistance more effectively, efficiently and sustainably.

Responding to needs in the era of COVID-19

Protracted economic, political and security crises have rendered many countries ill-equipped to respond to COVID-19. Within these fragile contexts, refugees and people displaced by conflict and crisis will be disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. An effective response to COVID-19 requires both global and local solutions. IRC’s advocacy aims to secure funding and operational flexibilities, promote best practices, and address specific threats to the needs of the communities we serve.

Meet our advocacy team

Our team can be reached at [email protected].

Nazanin Ash, vice president of Global Policy and Advocacy

Nazanin Ash oversees the IRC’s policy and advocacy efforts. Prior to this role, she was a policy fellow at the Center for Global Development, where she focused on aid effectiveness and political and economic reform in the Middle East. Previously, she served as deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, leading the U.S. government’s Middle East Partnership Initiative. Her U.S. government experience also includes serving as a member of the Secretary of State’s policy planning staff, as chief of staff to the first director of foreign assistance and administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, and as a White House fellow. She holds an MPP from Harvard Kennedy School of Government and a BA in political science from Bryn Mawr College.

Amanda Catanzano, senior director for International Programs Policy and Advocacy

Amanda Catanzano focuses on the IRC’s country-level operational barriers and the challenges faced by the people we seek to assist. She comes to the IRC from a career in the U.S. government, most recently as the director for strategic planning at the National Security Council. Prior to the National Security Council, Amanda was a member of the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning staff and special assistant to the Deputy Secretary of State, covering South and Central Asia with a focus on Afghanistan and Pakistan. She has served in leadership roles in the private sector including at Booz Allen. Amanda holds an MA in American Foreign Policy from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Sarah Charles, senior director for Humanitarian Aid Policy and Advocacy

Sarah Charles leads efforts to drive reform in the humanitarian aid system and promote policies to improve the lives of refugees and other conflict-affected persons. Sarah previously spent four years on the National Security Council staff at the White House, first as the Director for Humanitarian Policy and then as the Director and Acting Senior Director for Strategic Planning. Sarah coordinated the White House response to the global refugee and migration crisis including the 2016 Leaders Summit on Refugees. She coordinated the Ebola response in West Africa in addition to the U.S. government response to complex emergencies in Syria, Iraq, Central African Republic, South Sudan, and elsewhere. Before joining the NSC, Sarah worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development and with the IRC in field posts throughout East Africa and Central Asia. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Arts in Government and Geography from Dartmouth College and a Masters in Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.   

J.C. Hendrickson, senior director for Refugee and Asylum Policy and Advocacy

J.C. Hendrickson leads efforts to promote refugee resettlement and asylum in the United States. He joined the IRC after 6 years at The Pew Charitable Trusts, where he worked to promote bipartisan federal criminal justice reform based on the lessons of successful state reform efforts. This included working on the FIRST STEP Act, an omnibus criminal justice reform bill which was signed into law in 2018. Before Pew, J.C. worked at The Council of State Governments, where he again worked at the intersection of federal and state governments to achieve bipartisan policy outcomes. J.C. got his start on Capitol Hill, working for members of the House of Representatives for nearly 5 years.  He earned his Master's Degree from George Washington University and Bachelor's Degree from American University in Washington, DC.

Latest reports and resources


The IRC advocates for resettlement of the most vulnerable refugees, protection of rights to asylum, commitments to international humanitarian law, and appropriate financing and policy to respond to the evolving needs of people in crisis. Read more about the issues we’re working on.