About Us

Our History:

Refugee Alliance Network (RAN) began as The African Rights Activist’s Group (ARAG), established in 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada as a non-profit, tax exempt 501(c)(3) community based organization. Since 2015, we have expanded to the DC metropolitan area, serving the District of Columbia and its outlying suburbs. RAN works closely with the private and public sectors to serve as a liaison between refugees and the communities in which they live. Our mission is to educate, inform, protect, and provide services to refugees regardless of race, creed, age, religion, color, gender, sexual orientation or physical challenges. 

We seek to both inform refugees about community resources available to them and empower refugees to speak for themselves. In Nevada, RAN implemented educational outreach and social programs, community workshops, and career services. Informational sessions were held at various universities, churches and public libraries in order to educate the general public about the condition of refugees. Community events such as the International Day of Peace, International Women’s Day and the United Nations Day for the Eradication of Poverty discussed human rights awareness and education, empowerment of refugees and discrimination in immigrant communities. These community workshops achieved several goals. We informed newly arrived refugees about resources available to them in Las Vegas, Nevada, and the United States. Also, we educated the local Las Vegas community about the severity of the worldwide refugee crises. Finally, we facilitated communication between the established local population and the nascent refugee community. Since 2009, RAN  has managed the Refugee Village, to continue conducting educational outreach and providing social services from a static location in order to best fulfill the RAN’s core mission. The Refugee Village provides multi-dimensional services to meet the needs of refugees residing in Nevada these services include, but are not limited to: client management, employment and career services, translation and interpretation, food distribution, and driver education.

Since moving to Washington, DC in 2015, RAN has expanded its work to include political advocacy on the behalf of refugees, especially LGBTQ refugees. We have worked closely with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR Washington Office) and other partners since 2013 to raise awareness amongst government officials and policy makers about issues impacting the resettlement and integration of refugees. RAN has been instrumental in convening meetings and discussions among different organizations at the regional and national level who work with and serve refugees. These efforts have been aimed at building bridges between social service and advocacy so that refugees receive appropriate assistance, have their rights respected, and improve their integration into the United States.

 

 

Our Staff:

Beni Dedieu Luzau is the Founder and Executive Director of RAN. He was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and lived in Uganda, Kenya, and Belgium before moving to the United States. Before founding RAN, he worked with advocacy groups for an end to the sexual abuse of women and girls in the DRC, and was Coordinator of Amnesty International Uganda Structure in 2001. He became a naturalized citizen in May 2015.

Dr. Leslie R. Hinkson, PhD is the Director of Strategies and Resource Acquisition for RAN. She works to secure grant funding for RAN’s various services and develop strategies as to how RAN can approach its expansion. A native of Brooklyn, New York, she has crunched numbers for both Goldman Sachs and taught children for Teach for America. She is currently a professor of African American Studies and Sociology at Georgetown University.

Mr. Nana K. Gyan is our Director of Communication and Public Relations. He was born and raised in Ghana, West Africa and received his education in both Ghana and the U.S. He attended Virginia State University where he received his BS in Marketing, starting his own business, focusing on other small businesses as well as talent and athletic management. He has assisted and encouraged underprivileged kids in developing countries and communities to reach their goals to become leaders in sports and in society. Mr. Gyan currently works as a case manager in the District of Columbia where he works helps families receiving public benefits to achieve employment, education, and self sufficiency.

Mr. Safo Agyemang is our Director for Policy and Advocacy. A career public servant, he has over ten years of experience servicing several underserved populations, including the youth and those with developmental and mental disabilities. Mr. Agyemang attended The University of Florida where he attained his Bachelors of Arts in Criminology and also holds a Masters of Science in International Affairs from Florida State University. He gained his passion to help others growing during his early childhood years. He served as a firsthand witness to extreme, global poverty and the forced migration of peoples within Nigeria, Togo, The Gambia, Guinea Bissau, and other nations in West Africa. He currently serves as a Diversion Coordinator with the Government of The District of Columbia’s Department of Human Services. (DHS)