New guide aims to build welcoming infrastructure on campuses and local communities

October 27, 2023 — A new guide is available for higher education institutions seeking to welcome and support refugees on campus, as well as engage surrounding communities on refugee issues.

The AHLAN Manual (ahlan is an Arabic term to express welcome) was created and published by the Greensboro, North Carolina-based organization Every Campus A Refuge (ECAR). The guide is sponsored by Welcoming America’s Fund to Foster Belonging and the Refugee Resettlement Initiative of the National Association of System Heads (NASH).

To view and download the manual, readers must click the download button and fill out the Google Form to receive the toolkit.

Based on research conducted by Guilford College faculty and students, the guide provides context on the refugee resettlement process in the U.S., how to find and build a pool of advocates, tools and resources for students, staff, faculty, and administrators to map out a refugee “ecosystem” on campus and in the local community.

Rachel Perić, executive director of Welcoming America, said: “We are honored to support ECAR’s work in creating welcoming campuses for newcomers through our Fund to Foster Belonging grant. We are excited to see this addition to the welcoming field of work and grateful to ECAR’s leadership and partners for charting a path for the higher education community to get more involved in fostering belonging for all.”

Diya Abdo, Director of Every Campus A Refuge, said: “With 4,000 colleges and universities across the U.S., it is time for everyone involved in higher education and refugee resettlement to take very seriously the significant role campuses can play in transforming the landscape of refugee resettlement in our nation. The AHLAN Manual is an easy guide that every college or university can follow — no matter its location, resources, or whether it’s private, public, or community — to advance inclusion and belonging for newcomers in their communities.”

Colleen Thouez, Founder and Director of the NASH Refugee Resettlement Initiative, said: “In my many years working with universities, it is common to meet faculty, staff and students who want to help refugees, but often they are unsure how to do so. Every Campus A Refuge is the first ever roadmap for colleges and universities to support refugee families in their early months in this country. NASH – the leadership organization representing public university systems with over 420 university, college and community college campuses – is proud to help deepen ECAR’s reach. With the AHLAN Manual, we have a valuable resource that can further guide and assist existing champions of refugee support on university campuses, and future committed champions who will also benefit from this exceptional and historic program.”

Kyle Farmbry, President of Guilford College, said: “The AHLAN Manual is a resource eight years in the making. Ever since 2015, Guilford College and Every Campus A Refuge have been a proud beacon of support for refugees. I know other higher institutions will benefit greatly by learning from ECAR’s experiences over the years.”


About Welcoming America

Welcoming America is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that leads a movement of inclusive communities becoming more prosperous by ensuring everyone belongs. We believe that all people, including immigrants, are valued contributors and vital to the success of our communities and shared future. Learn more

About Every Campus A Refuge

Founded in 2015, Every Campus A Refuge’s mission is to mobilize colleges and universities to host refugees on campus grounds and support their successful integration. Since ECAR’s inception, 16 campuses including Lafayette College, Wake Forest University, Russell Sage College, Siena College, Washington State University, Old Dominion University, James Madison University, and Clemson University among others have started their own ECAR Chapters. ECAR has been recognized by the White House, the United Nations, and with several higher education community engagement awards. In addition to mobilizing universities to support refugee families, ECAR is a member of the U.S. Department of State’s Welcome Corps on Campus consortium, and will be supporting private sponsor groups at colleges and universities as they sponsor refugee students.

About the National Association of System Heads (NASH) Refugee Resettlement Initiative (RRI)

The National Association of System Heads (NASH) is a higher education leadership organization representing public systems of higher education across the United States. NASH’s Refugee Resettlement Initiative (RRI) aims to create welcoming campuses and promote the social and economic inclusion of refugees and displaced communities via higher education systems.

About Guilford College

Founded in 1837, Guilford is a liberal arts college of 1,200 students instilling innovative and principled problem-solving skills, experiences, and global perspectives to enable them to create positive change in the world. Located in Greensboro, North Carolina, Guilford is one of America’s remarkable Colleges That Change Lives.


Welcoming America: Lola Pak,

Every Campus A Refuge: Walid Mosarsaa,

NASH: David Belsky,

Guilford College: Robert Bell,

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