by Katie Nolan, Co-chair Open Arms
An exciting international discussion about refugee sponsorship will be taking place in Kemptville on February 13. Canada is chairing the Annual Tripartite Consultations on Resettlement this year, and a group of delegates from around the world will be visiting Ottawa for a working group meeting in mid-February. The Canadian government is involved in capacity building work with the Global Refugee Sponsorship Initiative (GRSI), and, together with partners from the University of Ottawa Refugee Hub, they are organizing a site visit for the delegates. Delegates are a mix of government and civil society reps working on refugee resettlement. They are interested in how refugee sponsorship can work outside of urban centres.
Open Arms, a recently formed refugee sponsorship group based in Kemptville, will be hosting the delegates for a relaxed, informal discussion of the Canadian experience with the refugee sponsorship process including sponsor training, managing expectations, and integration in a rural community. Also present will be newcomer settlement support agencies TR Leger and CSE Consulting, as well as nearby refugee sponsorship groups: Refugees in Brockville, Open Arms Brockville, and Agape Brockville.
In showcasing an example of refugee sponsorship in these communities, organizers hope to demonstrate how government and civil society work side by side to resettle refugees. Until recently, the Canadian system was unique in the world. However, Canada has inspired other nations to adopt this system, and they are looking for ways to make their programs as successful as possible.
The meeting will take place on February 13, 1:30-3:30pm, Room 112 in Parish Hall, 40 Campus Drive, Kemptville Campus.