Gem State Roundup

Boise, Twin Falls celebrate Idaho’s refugee community this upcoming World Refugee Day

By: - June 13, 2023 4:20 am

The Idaho Office for Refugees’ goal is to help ease the transition for refugees who are resettling in Idaho after having fled their home countries due to persecution of their religious beliefs, political opinions or ethnic heritage. (Courtesy of Idaho Office of Refugees)

Idaho’s refugee community and local nonprofits will celebrate World Refugee Day this weekend in Boise and Twin Falls with food, music and cultural performances. 

Hosted by the Idaho Office for Refugees, Agency for New Americans and International Rescue Committee, the Boise event will take place at 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 17 at the Grove Plaza. 

The nonprofit agencies are partnering with the Capital City Public Market to provide international food options as well as dance and musical performances representing Boise’s diverse communities. The Boise celebration will also include a citizenship ceremony with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at 11 a.m. 

“It’s a powerful moment to stand alongside neighbors as they reach this milestone,” Idaho Office for Refugees spokesperson Holly Beech said in a press release. 

The Boise celebration is presented by the Krazy Coupon Lady Foundation and city of Boise, with support from Boise Cascade, the Islamic Center of Boise, Pathways of Idaho, and the Idaho Education Association Women & Minorities Caucus.

Organizers are welcoming new community partners, such as Juneteenth Idaho, to this year’s event. 

Magic Valley celebrates World Refugee Day

In addition to Boise’s celebration, the College of Southern Idaho Refugee Program is hosting a World Refugee celebration at 6 p.m. June 16 at Twin Falls City Park. 

Food representing eight countries will be served free of charge, and cultural performances will begin at 7 p.m.

In anticipation for the event, CSI refugee programs director Zeze Rwasama is sharing his own journey through refugee resettlement on the latest episode of Mosaics, a podcast by the Idaho Office for Refugees that highlights Idaho’s refugee community. 

Idaho’s role with refugee resettlement

The United Nations designated and established the international holiday on June 20, 2000, in honor of people who have fled their country to escape conflict or persecution. 

For more information about Idaho’s upcoming World Refugee Day celebrations, visit the Idaho Office for Refugees website.

Idaho’s resettlement program began in 1975 as part of a national effort to receive refugees from Southeast Asia after the Vietnam War. 

The state continues to serve as a resettlement location for refugees. In the last two years, many refugees resettling in Idaho are from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan and Ukraine.  

According to the press release, Idaho resettlement agencies in Boise, Nampa and Twin Falls welcomed 500 individuals from 13 countries in 2023.


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Mia Maldonado
Mia Maldonado

Mia Maldonado joined the Idaho Capital Sun after working as a breaking news reporter at the Idaho Statesman covering stories related to crime, education, growth and politics. She previously interned at the Idaho Capital Sun through the Voces Internship of Idaho, an equity-driven program for young Latinos to work in Idaho news. Born and raised in Coeur d'Alene, Mia moved to the Treasure Valley for college where she graduated from the College of Idaho with a bachelor's degree in Spanish and international political economy.