Notre Dame de Namur University Becomes the First West Coast University to House Afghan Refugees on Belmont Campus

Notre Dame de Namur University partners with Every Campus A Refuge and International Rescue Committee in pilot program to provide temporary housing for refugees fleeing violence in Afghanistan

Belmont, California, June 09, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Notre Dame de Namur University (NDNU) has announced the launch of a new pilot program to provide transitional housing to up to 36 Afghan refugees on its Belmont campus. It is the first university on the West Coast to offer such a program. Refugees are slated to arrive this month.

The program is a partnership between the university, Every Campus A Refuge (ECAR), and the International Rescue Committee (IRC), two national organizations that provide assistance to international refugees as they resettle in the United States. NDNU and the two organizations will collaborate to offer vital resources, including housing, food, and social support to refugees as they navigate a difficult resettlement process.

The refugees are admitted to the United States through the Biden Administration’s Operation Allies Welcome, a multi-agency initiative to assist vulnerable Afghan refugees to resettle in the United States. Many of the refugees worked alongside the United States government in Afghanistan, providing critical support for the past two decades. Refugees will live on campus for a period of up to 90 days as they transition into permanent housing.

“Afghan refugees escaped unimaginably dangerous circumstances during last year’s evacuation. As they begin to rebuild their lives here in Northern California, the support of our community is essential. We are grateful to NDNU for welcoming them to campus,” said Jordane Tofighi, IRC in Oakland Director. 

 “As a Catholic university dedicated to our founding core principles of social justice we are delighted to answer the call to act upon our stated values and advance our mission,” said NDNU President Beth Martin. “NDNU is committed to being a leader in values-based higher education and call on our peer institutions to join us in this important effort.”      

Founded upon the values of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and rooted in Catholic tradition, NDNU values community engagement, social justice, and global peace. The work of ECAR and IRC represents the core values and mission of NDNU.  NDNU and ECAR draw from Catholic tradition, emphasizing values of diversity, justice, and civic engagement.

“College campuses provide vital resources such as shelter, food, community support, and education which are necessities during the resettlement process. University and college campuses have so many assets to draw from to support our national and local resettlement efforts,” said Diya Abdo, founder      and Director of ECAR.

About NDNU, ECAR, and IRC

Notre Dame de Namur

Notre Dame de Namur University (NDNU) is a Catholic, not-for-profit, coeducational institution serving adult learners from diverse backgrounds. Established in 1851 by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, NDNU is the third-oldest college in California and the first authorized to grant women a baccalaureate degree. The university is fully accredited and offers undergraduate degree completion programs and master’s degree programs in business, education, and psychology, as well as teacher credential programs. NDNU maintains a strong commitment to academic excellence, social justice, and community engagement. For more information, visit

Every Campus A Refuge

ECAR was founded at Guilford College to call on every college and university in the world to partner with their local refugee resettlement agencies to house refugees on campus and assist them in resettlement. ECAR aids university and college campuses in using their resources – housing, food, care, skills – to take in refugees and support them as they begin their lives in the U.S.    

International Rescue Committee

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and over 20 U.S. cities helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future, and strengthen their communities. Learn more at and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.




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