Experts to Speak About Global Refugee Crisis, Local Solutions on World Refugee Day Houston 2018

World Refugee Day

Catholic Charities staff members celebrate World Refugee Day.


A panel of Houston-area experts will discuss the global refugee crisis and location solutions to assist refugees during World Refugee Day Houston 2018, set June 20 from 6-8 p.m. at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts Museum’s Brown Auditorium.

Sponsored by the Houston Refugee Consortium, the primary coordinators of this year’s event are the Alliance for Multicultural Community Services, the Bilingual Education Institute, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston, Refugee Services of Texas and YMCA International Services.

“This is the only event being held in Houston to mark World Refugee Day, and we hope many people will attend to learn more about the timely and important topic of refugee resettlement,” said event co-chair Samantha Ware, Refugee Community Liaison for the Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Program. Elena Korbut, Community Engagement Coordinator-Refugee Services for Interfaith Ministries, is the other co-chair.

In addition to discussing refugee issues on the larger scale, panelists will describe solutions by local agencies, faith partners and businesses that support refugees on national and local levels. They will also discuss changes in U.S. policy during the past year and will share ways for the community to support refugee resettlement.

The panelists will offer perspective on refugees pertaining to the local economy, changing demographics, education and faith organizations. Lomi Kriel, Houston Chronicle reporter, will moderate the session.

The panelists are Dr. Stephen Klineberg, Founding Director, Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research; Jeff Watkins, Vice President of Global Initiatives, YMCA International; Yuliya Labanouskaya, District Manager, Starbucks; Alyssa Stebbing, Outreach Director, Trinity Episcopal Church; and Jonathan Trinh, Principal, Wisdom High School.

The event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. Individuals interested in attending should register online at Eventbrite.

“Refugees need our compassion and our help as they escape horrible situations and conditions,” said Cynthia N. Colbert, Catholic Charities President and CEO. “Our goal is to provide help and create hope for them as they work to create safer, better lives.”

During the week leading up to the panel discussion, the consortium is also coordinating Restaurants for Refugees, a partnership event with local restaurants to help educate the public about refugees and to raise funds for World Refugee Day and related programs.

Learn more about Catholic Charities’ Refugee Resettlement program.