December 20, 2017

Every Campus a Refuge Founder to Make Presentation at the United Nations

Guilford College, Greensboro, N.C., professor and founder of Every Campus a Refuge (ECAR) Diya Abdo has accepted an invitation from the United Nations to help lead an international conversation supporting refugees and migrants. Diya will participate in the UN Together Summit on Jan. 9, 2018, at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

The summit will center on a globally-focused campaign to “promote respect, safety and dignity of refugees and migrants.” Event participants and presenters will include educational leaders from American, Asian and European Universities. The goal of the summit is to begin a conversation centered on breaking down barriers and finding solutions to the significant and troubling challenges faced by refugees and migrants. 

“We're very honored that De Montfort University in Leicester, U.K., which has been tasked by the U.N. to reinvigorate the U.N.'s Together Campaign, has invited us to participate in this important summit and to sign the resulting U.N. Together Action Charter,” says Diya.  “The invitation was motivated by the U.N.'s recognition of Guilford College's "reputation for engaging with marginalised communities and [our] commitment to using education as a global force for good" as exemplified by the Every Campus A Refuge program.”

Diya will be a featured panelist (in a session that also includes prominent refugee and migrant advocates from German and Chinese universities as well as a UN official) Also attending the event will be several Guilford College faculty, staff and students who are actively involved in developing ECAR and promoting its growth across the country. Guilford College and Every Campus a Refuge will have an exhibit at the U.N. for two days (Jan. 8 and 9) showcasing the College and the work ECAR has done since 2016. The Summit will culminate in a signing of a United Nations Action Charter. Guilford College and ten other national and international colleges and universities will sign the document as founding partners accepting the responsibility to “work together to energise the TOGETHER campaign and promote respect, safety and dignity for refugees and migrants.”

Diya founded Every Campus a Refuge at Guilford College in September 2015. The 501c non-profit organization calls on college campuses to partner with local resettlement agencies to house and assist refugees in settlement. ECAR believes that colleges and universities are well-suited to support refugees, as they already have the food, housing, care and skills necessary. Since 2016, Guilford College has hosted 32 refugees and inspired a number of campuses nationally to join in this effort and become a Refuge. ECAR is supported by a number of faculty, staff and student volunteers and Diya continues to serve as the program’s director. 

ECAR continues to receive growing national recognition. ECAR’s important work was celebrated as Guilford College became just one of five colleges nationwide to earn the prestigious Higher Education Civic Engagement Award from the Washington Center in October, 2017. 

Guilford College’s commitment to supporting and serving marginalized populations includes widely active engagement and leadership from President Jane K. Fernandes on such issues. Most recently, Jane joined more than two dozen leaders of colleges and universities around the country to form the President’s Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration. This alliance will work to inform the public about the impacts of immigration policy on college campuses and come together to address issues related to immigrant and undocumented students.  

About Guilford College
Guilford College is a leading liberal arts college situated on a scenic 350-acre wooded campus in the lively college city of Greensboro, N.C. Guilford offers a transformative education, providing students with the bold, innovative problem-solving skills, experiences and global perspectives they need to actively create change in the world. The College is guided by its Quaker heritage and seven Core Values — community, diversity, equality, excellence, integrity, justice and stewardship. Learn more at