Spots are filling up quickly! Register today and reserve yours! Note: Online registration for NIIC 2012 closes at 5 PM Eastern time on Wednesday, September 19th, 2012. You may register same-day at the conference!

President Obama Welcomes NIIC 2012

Click here to read the welcome letter written by President Barack Obama to
the attendees of NIIC 2012.

2012 Program Booklet

Download the official 2012 Conference booklet here!

2012 Hosts

 CASA de Maryland is the state’s foremost Latino and immigrant organization and a national leader in supporting immigrant families and ensuring that all individuals have the core supports necessary for full participation in society. Read more.


 The National Partnership for New Americans (the Partnership) advances the integration and active citizenship of immigrants to achieve a vibrant, just and welcoming democracy for all. Read more.


NIIC press release

Click here to read and download the NIIC press release in English. For Spanish, please click here.


Connect with NIIC 2012

Promoting Integration: The Refugee Perspective

Track Description: Refugees and asylees make up an important subgroup of America’s immigrant population. Fleeing persecution in their homelands, they bring unique hardships, experiences and skills to cities throughout the United States. An increasingly diverse population with new residents recently arriving from Burma, Iraq, Ethiopia and elsewhere, supporting refugees on their path to self-sufficiency and full community integration presents challenges as well as tremendous opportunities for success. Building on the overall theme of the conference, this track focuses on the intersection between refugee integration compared with the experiences of other immigrant populations and how advocates across the immigration spectrum can collaborate more effectively. The track explores refugee resettlement, the value and challenges of labeling different immigrant groups, advancements in community education, proven tactics for engaging refugee communities, and strategies for addressing the increase in anti-refugee bias for the benefit of refugees and immigrant at large.

Promoting Integration: The Refugee Perspective sessions were organized by Laura Garcia of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant & Refugee Rights, Cheryl Hamilton of RefugePoint, Stacy Martin of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, and Colleen Mahar-Piersma of the Center for Applied Linguistics.


Refugee vs. Immigrant? Explore the Divide and Strengthen the Bond

Workshop Date:       Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012
Workshop Time:      10:30am – 12:00pm

Workshop Description: Does status matter? In this dynamic interactive session, explore how labels both positively and negatively affect refugee and immigrant integration. Discover the unique challenges of refugee integration compared with those of other immigrant groups and learn how we can support one another to improve immigrant integration for all newcomers to the United States. Join this important conversation with national, state and local refugee and immigrant advocates and help strengthen the bridge between our shared networks.


  • Mr. Mitiku Ashebir, Director for Division of Refugee Assistance, U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement
  • Nathaniel Stiefel, Division Chief of Policy and Programs, USCIS Office of Citizenship
  • Martin Ford, Associate Director, Maryland Office for Refugees and Asylees


  • Cheryl Hamilton, Communications Officer, RefugePoint
  • Fabio Lomelino, Project Director for Community Conversations, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service


Connect with America: Strategies for Improving Your Communication Efforts 

Workshop Date:      Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012
Workshop Time:      1:45pm – 3:15pm

Workshop Description: Why are refugees moving into my town? Every year, thousands of refugees fleeing war and persecution from counties like Burma, Sudan and Iraq are resettled to cities across the United States where they are able to rebuild their lives in safety and with dignity. Hear how national experts including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Center for Applied Linguistics effectively use storytelling, multi-media and social media platforms to provide cultural information, to ease local resistance and to strengthen relationships between residents and newcomers in resettlement communities. Pick up creative tips for improving your communication awareness campaigns. 


  • Sanja Bebic, Director, Refugee and Immigrant Integration, Center for Applied Linguistics
  • Charity Tooze, Public Information Officer, UNHCR Washington Regional Office
  • Kursten Pickup, Coordinator, Baltimore City Community College (BCCC) Refugee Youth Project
  • Moira Fratantuono, Volunteer Specialist, BCCC Refugee Youth Project
  • Refugee Youth Project Members, BCCC Refugee Youth Project


  • Jonathan Lucus, Director for Refugee and Immigrant Self-Sufficiency, LIRS


Unite Voices: Community Organizing with Refugees

Workshop Date:      Monday, Sept. 24, 2012
Workshop Time:     10:30 to 12:00

Workshop Description: Refugee and immigrant advocates are increasingly discovering the benefits of working together to improve immigrant integration and achieve shared goals in their communities. Meet trailblazing community organizers from the national refugee network that have reached out beyond traditional partnerships to improve the quality of life for all newcomers. During this panel discussion, hear lessons learned from the front lines, what mistakes organizers made, and more importantly, what milestones they accomplished. With scarce resources and reduced funding, partnerships between refugee and other immigrant groups are more important than ever.


  • Patience Lehrman, Director, Project Shine
  • Keh Moo, Organizer, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union
  • Stephen Fotopulos, Executive Director, TIRRC


  • Fred Tsao, Policy Director, ICIRR


Refugee Leaders Reflect on Immigrant Integration

Workshop Date:      Monday, Sept. 24, 2012
Workshop Time:      1:50 to 3:20 PM

Workshop Description: No one knows better how to engage refugees than refugees. Come talk directly with refugee leaders about what they have learned about promoting integration in the United States and mobilizing different refugee communities to participate more fully in the public sphere. Hear the leaders’ remarkable stories of survival, and explore how refugee integration experiences mirror the experiences of other immigrant groups. You will also learn how to be a better ally in their remarkable journeys. Presenters represent a cross-section of recent refugee arrivals.


  • Checago Bright, Checago Bright Foundation
  • The Rev. Thon Moses Chol, Board of Directors, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
  • Ahlam Mahmood, Iraqi Mutual Aid Society
  • Dr. Khulood Al Nuaimi, Community Leader


  • Colleen Mahar-Piersma, Associate Director, Cultural Orientation Resource Center, Center for Applied Linguistics


Protect Refugee Resettlement: How anti-refugee policies affect all immigrants  

Workshop Date:       Monday, Sept. 24, 2012
Workshop Time:      3:30pm – 5:00pm

Workshop Description: For decades, the United States has offered hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers life-saving protection through the federal government’s Refugee Resettlement Program. While many people in America welcome refugees and empathize with their plight, refugee resettlement is not without critics. Recently, several local and state governments and private citizens have tried to restrict refugee resettlement through increased anti-refugee legislation and negative public campaigns. In this session, hear how national and local actors within the refugee network have effectively responded to protect the refugee program and change public opinion. Also, learn how anti-refugee rhetoric impacts all immigrants and how advocates can work together to celebrate America’s diverse immigrant landscape.


  • Ahlam Jbara, Associate Director, The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago
  • Amy Marchildon, Director, Services for New Americans, Lutheran Social Services
  • Joshua Snowden, Fusion Project Coordinator, Asian Community and Cultural Center
  • Jen Smyers, Associate Director, Immigration & Refugee Policy, Church World Service


  • Melanie Nezer, Senior Director, U.S. Policy and Advocacy, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society