Trauma, Education & Resettlement Conference Recap


On November 16th, 2018, the Women’s Initiative for Self Empowerment (WISE) held its first conference focused on immigrant and refugee journeys and the traumatic impact of displacement. The idea for the Trauma, Education & Resettlement Conference came about due to the large number of immigrants and refugees residing in Minnesota. Of the 14% of immigrants living in the United States, more than half (8%) reside in Minnesota*. This makes the need for culturally-informed services crucial, especially ones that consider the development of youth.

Attendees were able to learn more about providing trauma care services through four conference sessions led by Alejandro Maldonado, MA, CCP, CHI, President of Avante-Enterprises, Hanin Omran, former project director of SOS Children’s Villages, Mary Jo Avendaño, Psy. D, LMFT, LICSW, LPC, and Sipra Jha, Director of House of Peace Shelter.

The conference was organized by the Women’s Initiative for Self Empowerment and co-sponsored by Asian Women United of MN, African Immigrants Community Services, and the MN Coalition for Battered Women.

A total of 36 people attended the all-day conference held at Arlington Hills Community Center in St. Paul, MN.

Download or view speaker topics

Therapeutic Alliance & Affect Regulation Presentation // The Polyvagal Theory Video // Dr. Mary Jo Avendaño

Working with Internally Displaced Children & Families in War Zones Presentation // Hanin Omran

Traffickers and Pimps Prey on Vulnerable Rohingya Girls- PBS News Video // Sipra Jha

*Statistics taken from