Our Mission

Following the “think globally, act locally” mantra, the mission of The Refugee Experience Series is to educate the public on the urgent plight of global refugees. 

Our Work

The Refugee Experience Series (TRES) aims to build cultural awareness of the personal and cultural experiences of global refugees through film, book, and discussion events. Refugees as well as non-profit organizations (NPO), non-government organizations (NGO), and government organizations assisting refugees are invited to speak on the open discussion panel portion of each event.

TRES events are intended to promote a candid understanding of the refugee experience as well as connect the interested public with people who have been refugees and organizations that are actively working to help globally displaced populations.

Our broad public events highlight the very personal experiences of refugees spanning

     • the trials and tribulations leading to displacement,
     • the relocation process as refugees and immigrants, and
     • challenges faced in their new lives. 

We encourage interested individuals to continually learn more about the plight of refugees around the world and make a personal commitment to help this population in their local area or globally. Visit the Get Involved page for suggestions.

  Our History

The idea for The Refugee Experience Series (TRES) developed in early September 2007. After working on several projects together with the United Nations Association's Young Professionals, Dexter Sumner and Vivian Nguyen teamed-up to organize broad public events that would highlight the very personal experiences of refugees. Our goal is to create a positive impact where upon anyone can be empowered and inspired to 
get involved. 

The Refugee Experience Series began with a focus on the refugee experiences of the Vietnamese boat people in the late 70s and early 80s, and the contemporary refugee crisis arising from southern Sudan’s civil conflict.

The purpose was to show that civil conflicts continue to displace people and tragically disrupt lives across the globe. Through avenues of participation in the form of film, book clubs, open discussion, and networking receptions, each TRES event not only raises awareness of the refugee issue arising from a particular country but also celebrates the culture of the displaced.

On November 15, 2007, TRES featured The Beautiful Country and opened discussions. The outcome was fantastic. Attendees were engaged in thoughtful questions and comments with our guest speakers resulted in a greater understanding of how (Vietnamese) refugees became immigrants and what happens to them once they relocate to a country such as the US. An enlightening discussion over the issues and difficulties they face as part of the assimilation process shed light on the many layers of what the (Vietnamese) refugee experience is like. One audience member commented, "I was very young when my parents and I left Vietnam as refugees. They talk about the hardships all the time at home, but I never really fully understood or thought deeply about it until this event."

The Refugee Experience Series was created by Vivian Nguyen and Dexter Sumner. Its first event was sponsored by the United Nations Association’s Young Professionals.  

 Upcoming Events 

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