Published: Nov. 30, 2016

On October 26th, experts from Colorado state and local government, NGOs, business leaders and universities gathered at the University of Colorado Boulder for the Regional Summit on Refugee Issues, to discuss the role of businesses and business schools in integrating refugees into communities and local economies. 

Notable moments

The summit was kicked off with keynote speaker Kit Taintor who serves as the State Refugee Coordinator at the Colorado Office of Economic Security, Division of Refugee Service.


Pictured above: Keynote speaker, Kit Taintor

Esteemed government, business, business school and non-profit organization leaders led panel discussions.  With an overarching theme of working towards integrating the best business practices regarding inclusion, participants were left with hope and goals to move forward. 


Pictured above: Dr. Joe French and Anthony Cherwinski participating in audience discussion

A highlight of the event involved the 70 attendees’ participation. Before each panel, audience members were given notecards to write responses and answers to posed questions. An example of these brainstorming sessions can be seen in a tweet from Jennifer Yee, Assistant Director of Internships and Experiential Learning at University of Colorado Boulder, where she shared her ideas when asked, “How can business schools in the Denver area collaborate to help act on the issue at hand?” 

Audience brainstorming on how #bschools in #Denver area can collaborate on #regionalsummitonrefugees @LeedsCESR @CUBoulder #CallToAction

— Jenn Yee (@yeefunk) October 26, 2016

"By all accounts, the Summit was a smashing success. First, the Summit succeeded in confirming the positive narrative that refugees do contribute to local economies. We also accomplished precisely what we intended in joining federal, state and local government officials, leading NGOs, business leaders from the Denver/Boulder business community to work together with Colorado business schools. CESR Fellows wanted to use the Summit to generate ideas about how stakeholders could work together to assist Colorado b-schools in assessing and meeting refugee higher education needs. I think the most important outcome was that we reached wide consensus among all stakeholders that refugees are entrepreneurs who start new businesses that create wealth, employ local residents, and stimulate investment. We then also reached consensus on how all stakeholders can partner with b-schools in mitigating the constraints that prevent refugees from integrating into local economies." - Mark Meaney, Executive Director, Center for Education on Social Responsibility, Leeds School of Business University of Colorado Boulder

How you can make a difference

Ideas discussed at the Regional Summit on Refugee Issues must be applied and continually worked on to ensure change is made. The United Nations is urging all actors in society to support this challenge of the global refugee crisis. Organizations cannot only support in a financial manner, but the UN also suggests activities including core business, social investment and philanthropy, advocacy and public policy engagement, and partnership/collective action. 

Take the Business Action Pledge

UNHCRThe UN created a pledge concept to help work towards a change in this refugee crisis. Organizations, businesses or individuals have the option to vocalize their dedication for this cause by creating their own individual and unique pledge. Learn how others are implementing their pledges and sign your own here

The Center for Education on Social Responsibility thanks everyone who spoke and attended the Regional Summit on Refugee Issues! If you were unable to make October’s event, mark your calendars for our April 10, 2017 Conscious Capitalism Conference on food security featuring keynote speaker Kimbal Musk.

Learn more about CESR’s 2017 Conscious Capitalism Conference here