ST. LOUIS, Mo. – A visit from federal officials after the International Institue’s popular Festival of Nations event is shedding some new light on the number of Ukrainian refugees coming to the area.

A personal invitation brought federal officials to the International Institute of St. Louis. Representatives from the U.S. State Department, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, learned how the organization in St. Louis is committed to successful immigrant resettlement.

International Institute President Arrey Obenson says that St. Louis organizations are on track to prepare to welcome 900 Ukrainian refugees.

Larry Bartlett, Director for Refugee Resettlement at the U.S. Department of State

“During my visit here, I’ve learned a great deal about the commitment St. Louis has to immigrant resettlement,” states Larry Bartlett, Director for Refugee Resettlement at the U.S. Department of State. “What’s being done here goes far beyond relocation. Efforts are being made to ensure that the individuals and families that we place here in St. Louis have the resources and support they need to live safe, productive lives in their new homes and make a real contribution to their community.”

Bartlett said that he attended the Festival of Nations and was “blown away” by the celebration of diversity and the international community. “To me, St. Louis is what our country should be, and frankly is. A place that welcomes immigrants and refugees.”

“It is critical to St. Louis’ future that we grow our population. We stand with the International Institute as they continue their outstanding work bringing and welcoming immigrants to our community,” states Jason Hall, President and CEO of Greater St. Louis, Inc. “The immigrants St. Louis has welcomed over the years have made our community a better place to live. It’s encouraging and exciting to see representatives from Federal agencies that deal with immigration taking the time to learn about everything taking place here for the immigrant population.”

Since September 2021, the International Institute has helped over 600 Afghans in the area. They plan on helping many more individuals and families.

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