The Duke Refugee Advocacy Program at the Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute (DHRC@FHI) aims to better understand the rights outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by assisting refugees resettling in the Triangle area of North Carolina. This community-based, experiential undergraduate program partners Duke undergraduates and Durham refugees together to build community and empower refugees to remake their lives.

The Duke Refugee Advocacy Program takes a three-pronged approach to working with adult refugees in the Durham community. Through collaboration with Church World Service (CWS), students will participate in community work directly with refugees on a weekly basis, either assisting a partner with English conversation practice, or by teaching digital literacy skills to a number of clients. Students will be provided conversation prompts, digital literacy curriculum, and lesson plans, as well as training in how to work with English Language Learners.

In addition to regular community work with CWS clients, volunteers will learn about policy issues in immigration, workforce development, education, housing, and youth development that affect refugee communities at the city, state, and national level. Students will listen to refugee leaders and work to advocate for positive change in our communities.

Throughout the two-semester program, students will be provided training and workshops from guest speakers about best practices for working with English Language Learners and diverse communities. Students will also be given multiple opportunities to reflect on their experience, both with other participants and individually, to understand their role in the work more deeply.

    flow chart of three parts of Duke Refugee Advocacy Program

    Program Goals

    1. Contribute to Duke students’ intellectual understanding of human rights through an experiential education opportunity that provides real-world experience in the Durham community;
    2. Support the resettlement process of refugees to Durham by providing English language development, digital literacy skills, cultural adaptation, educational and socio-emotional support, and community orientation to newcomers;
    3. Gain real world experience working directly with community members and build skills such as problem solving, intercultural competency, communication, collaboration, emotional intelligence, leadership, and critical thinking;
    4. Listen to refugees and advocate for their identified needs at the local, state, and/or national level through community education, calls-to-action, lobbying, and more.

    Human Rights and Refugee Issues

    Read about how many issues that refugees encounter in their home country and resettlement countries are also human rights issues.

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    Undergraduate Program

    Learn more about the undergraduate long-term volunteer program, including the application process, program structure, and requirements.

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    Our Team

    Meet our Duke and CWS staff, as well as this year's undergraduate student interns.

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