DMACC hosts refugee summit

On Thursday Oct. 10, DMACC hosted the Iowa refugee Summit inside Building 5 at the Ankeny DMACC campus.

Over 200 professionals from various schools and businesses were present at the summit, each with the goal of learning how to better aid Iowa’s growing refugee population. Among those attending were representatives from other universities, the largest of which being Iowa State. 

DMACC Community and Global Engagement Director Ahmed Agyeman explained that: “Since 1970, over 30,000 refugees have settled in Iowa. Every year they collectively contribute over $4.1 billion in business revenue, and they pay over $349 million in both local and state taxes.”

Refugees in Iowa work in a wide variety of fields including meat packing, hospitality, agriculture, and manufacturing. The Refugee Alliance of Central Iowa serves to help refugees and their families find access to better education, realize their rights as citizens of Iowa, and improve their mental and physical health treatment. 

Stephanie Morris, the summit’s organizer, explained some of the major themes present at this year’s refugee summit: “The main theme at this year’s summit was mental health. Suicide has unfortunately risen to become a serious issue in Iowa’s refugee community.”

By raising awareness about the issues that plague refugees in Iowa, the goal of the summit was to better educate different groups about how they can reach out and provide refugees with the help they need. Stephanie also said, “What we really hope to accomplish here today is for everyone to learn more and share and connect resources. Also fill any gaps that could prevent us from reaching out to refugees in the most effective way possible.” 

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