KEYNOTE SPEAKER Elias Kasongo
That's when security forces bursts onto the campus and executed many students. Elias managed to escape that brutal attack and fled the country to Zambia. For four years Elias lived in a refugee camp unable to communicate with his friends and family.
With no possibility of safely returning home, he was granted a visa to come to America. He was warmly welcomed at the airport by RefugeeOne staff and members of his co-sponsoring group, the Congregational Church of Park Manor.
Within two months of his arrival, RefugeeOne arranged for Elias to interview with the Eli’s Cheesecake Company--he was offered a job that very day working on the cleaning crew. Over the next 19 years he would put himself through college and receive several promotions at the Eli’s Cheesecake Company leading him to his current position as Senior Buyer.
Elias is married and has two sons, ages nine and ten and a daughter who is six. His hope is that his children will attend college fulfilling the same dream that his father once had for him.
RefugeeOne is pleased to honor the Metropolitan Chicago Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) with our Many Voices. One Vision. achievement award. This honor is in recognition of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service’s 75th anniversary and RefugeeOne’s long-standing partnerships with Lutheran congregations. Accepting the award is Bishop Wayne N. Miller.
CLICK HERE to learn more about ELCA partnerships.
EMCEE Jerome McDonnell
Weekdays on WBEZ Worldview, Jerome McDonnell provides global affairs coverage of world issues with in-depth conversations on international issues.
FEATURED ARTIST Ghaith Salman Jarew
Ghaith will create two paintings live at the event which guests can bid on during the evening.
Born into a family of artists, Ghaith began to paint by age six and was painting professionally by sixteen. A famous artist in the Middle East, Ghaith had two art galleries in Baghdad and is known for his colorful modern and abstract paintings. Since being resettled by RefugeeOne in 2012, Ghaith has been working to make a name for himself as an artist in Chicago.