Deo Mwano has many years of experience collaborating with international organizations and immigrants from all over the world. As a former refugee himself, he understands the different dynamics of working with international cultures and populations. At an early age, Deo, along with his family, volunteered to help newly resettled African immigrants in New Hampshire adapt to American culture and embrace new opportunities.
Driven by a passion for global affairs, Deo majored in International Relationships in college in order to expand his knowledge of diplomacy and multicultural issues, domestic and international. After graduating, he worked as a community advisor for the Pakistani Leadership Institute at Plymouth State University, where he worked with forty Pakistani educational leaders, assisting with trainings and leading creative workshops. He loved the work. The leaders were very passionate about finding alternative ways to improve their communities and Deo helped them identify methods to achieve their goals.
Through College For America, Deo has led creative projects that have provided educational opportunities for refugees and immigrants. He has also coordinated partnerships with Kepler University in Rwanda, an organization that brings accredited Western education to Central Africa. Currently, Deo led a pilot program through the International Institute of New England, a local refugee resettlement organization. The program provided competency-based education to their clients. Deo believes that education is the key to, and foundation of, a better life for refugees and immigrants. So he is deeply committed to making this happen. The pilot program recently celebrated its first graduation, a student who completed the requirements for an Associate’s Degree in less than one year. The program focuses on the goals of refugees and immigrants, not on what an agency or social welfare program thinks those goals should be.
During his journey of consulting and collaborating with international organizations, Deo has received many invitations to speak and lead workshops. These include leading a workshop at one of the largest refugee resettlement organizations in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where Deo trained the staff to better work with newly resettled refugees. In 2014, Deo was invited to speak in Washington, D.C. at the Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC) conference, regarding the important work international aid organizations do in advocating for the refugees who have been forgotten after numerous years of being displaced.
Deo collaborates often with Refuge Point (http://www.refugepoint.org), leading workshops and lecture series to various audiences to educate them about refugee issues. Refuge Point provides lasting solutions for the world’s most at-risk refugees. They identify and protect refugees— in particular women, children, and urban refugees—who have fallen through the cracks of humanitarian assistance and have no other options for survival. Refuge Point deploys protection officers throughout Africa to identify the most vulnerable refugees and provide them a path to safety. Since their founding in 2005, Refuge Point has worked in more than 20 different locations throughout Africa, helping people fleeing persecution in the Congo, Somalia, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi and other war-torn areas. Click here to see their work.