Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

First Advisor

Charles Curry-Smithson


The provision of cultural orientation is one of many services required by the contract between resettlement agencies and the federal agencies overseeing refugee resettlement, the Cooperative Agreement. This paper explores World Relief in Moline, Illinois as a case study for how small resettlement agencies can provide meaningful and memorable cultural orientations. In order to accomplish this goal, this research utilizes the Empowerment Theory to explore how recently resettled refugees’ perceptions can be taken into consideration as orientation materials are examined. Research sought to compare Cooperative Agreement requirements to current orientation materials, interviewed service providers and recently resettled refugees, and utilized their comments and ratings of orientation in order to determine what aspects of orientation have room for growth, what refugees perceive to be most important to know upon arrival, and if information can be presented in a better way. This research was intended to provide a starting point for agencies to reexamine their cultural orientation programs in light of what their clients believe to have been most beneficial to their own successes. Research demonstrates that current materials are outdated and that a majority of refugees are unable to remember a majority of the information that was supposed to be addressed in their orientations. Findings suggest that by creating orientations that both meet Cooperative Agreement requirements and address what refugees identify as beneficial information, caseworkers would be able to provide orientations that refugees are better able to remember and resettlement agencies would be able to continually improve and update the materials they use.


Civic and Community Engagement | Family, Life Course, and Society | International Relations | Other Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Place and Environment | Policy Design, Analysis, and Evaluation | Social Welfare | Work, Economy and Organizations


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