Refugee Leadership Qualities

Part of the CLE model includes enhancing the quality of leadership within refugee individuals and communities as a form of empowerment. We focus on building capacity and providing resources to identify and facilitate the growth of leaders in refugee communities.

Refugee Leaders

Advocate: Refugee leadership is important for refugees to advocate on behalf of themselves, their families, and their community. Through refugee leadership, refugees can begin to see their needs and rights met.

Protect: Refugee leaders have the confidence, know-how, and information to facilitate nontraditional forms of protection for other refugees when laws, authorities, and other persons in positions of power are unwilling or unable to do so. Refugee leaders may understand challenges to the safety of a community and are in the best position to find ways to set up its own protection frameworks responsive to cultural, economic, and social dynamics within their community. Some of these include information sharing, warning systems, establishing identity forms, etc.

Survive: In the refugee urban context, most refugees are focused first on survival – making sure their basic needs are met. Refugee leaders are often faced day to day with survival challenges. CLE programs works with leaders to address their personal challenges and that of their community through democratic action plans that relies on minds and support of many.

Grow Talent: Refugees come with many talents. Cultivating and developing those talents facilitates the sharing of people resources and strengthens leadership. Refugees may also develop build new skills that respond specific challenges faced in the country of refuge, such as economic opportunities or help them organize and advocate on behalf of their community.

Develop Resources: Refugee leaders are both resources for other refugees and utilize the resources in their urban settings. Uniquely positioned to understand and connect with other refugees, leaders offer valuable information, advice, connections, and other tools for their fellow refugees. Where resources are lacking, leaders work together and with allies to strategically meet their communities’ needs.

Build Allies: Refugee leaders have the potential to bridge communities and seek out friends and allies that offer resources and defend and protect refugees. Leaders can bring unified voices to the table representative of the refugees’ voices.

Nurture: Refugee leaders can step into care for and encourage the growth of support for others who are similarly situated. For example, leaders can play important role in designing and implementing group workshops and activities that help refugees overcome trauma and take steps to rebuilding their lives together, and strengthen community and support networks.

Inspire: By example, refugee leaders set the groundwork for other refugees to start initiatives, build capacity to lead and support their communities in the country of refuge.