Director of Refugee Resettlement Joe Wiah to receive 2022 Con Hogan Award
The Vermont Community Foundation and the organizing committee of the Con Hogan Award for Creative and Entrepreneurial Community Leadership are pleased to announce that Joe Wiah will receive this year’s award. Wiah is the director of the Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC) Multicultural Community Center in Brattleboro.
The annual award, created by a group of Con Hogan colleagues in 2015, celebrates his life’s work by recognizing a community leader who shares his vision for a better Vermont and takes responsibility for making that vision a reality. The winner demonstrates deep community involvement, generosity, enthusiasm, a collaborative approach, and a focus on data and measurable results in their work.
At ECDC, Wiah coordinates with community organizations, government and individuals to assist refugees with employment, housing, education, medical care and other needs, including integration into the community life in southern Vermont.
Prior to being named Director of the Multicultural Community Center, Wiah served as the Housing Case Manager for Southeastern Vermont Community Action (SEVCA) in Brattleboro. In this role, he helped Vermonters in 15 Windham County towns access housing, fuel, food and home repair services. Previously at Pathways Vermont, he provided outreach, case management, advocacy and other services to homeless people struggling with mental health issues and people returning to communities after serving a prison sentence.
“The Award Committee was impressed with Joe Wiah’s story, an incredible journey of perseverance through setbacks and risk-taking in pursuit of a vision,” said Committee Chair Scott Johnson. “He saw the brutality that war inflicted on child combatants and vowed to dedicate his life to creating peace and helping refugees.”
Wiah grew up in Harper, Liberia, near the southern tip of the West African country, in the midst of civil war. He himself became a refugee for a time, fleeing to the Ivory Coast. Upon returning to Liberia, her work began to focus on children. He spent seven years with Catholic Charities, working as Deputy Director of Don Bosco Homes, where he coordinated and oversaw programs that led to the disarmament, demobilization, rehabilitation and reintegration of child soldiers. Wiah was a member of the Child Protection Agencies of Liberia, which contributed to the participation of children in the Truth and Reconciliation process. After arriving in the United States, he joined the Africa Research Project at the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children, where he conducted extensive research on policies and best practices to support abused and exploited children. in west Africa.
Wiah holds a Master of Arts in Intercultural Service, Leadership and Management from the University Institute for International Training (SIT) in Vermont and a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa. , Nairobi, Kenya.
He will receive the $15,000 Con Hogan Prize, to be used as he sees fit, in a ceremony at the Vermont College of Fine Arts on Wednesday, September 28 at 4:30 p.m. Visit vermontcf.org/ConHogan for more information on the award and to register for the event.
Members of the Con Hogan Prize Committee are Will Belongia, Paul Cillo, Steve Dale, Scott Johnson, Ellen Kahler, Jane Kimble, Dr. Etan Nasreddin-Longo, Jericho Parms, Arnold Isidore Thomas and Diana Wahle.
The Vermont Community Foundation inspires giving and brings people and resources together to make a difference in Vermont. A family of hundreds of funds and foundations, we provide the guidance, investment vehicles, and back-office expertise that makes it easy for people who care in Vermont to find and fund the causes they love.
The core of the Community Foundation’s work is to close the opportunity gap, the gap that leaves too many Vermonters struggling to get ahead, no matter how hard they work. We align our time, energy, and discretionary resources with efforts that provide access to early care and learning, pathways to college and vocational training, support for youth and families, and community and economic vitality . We envision Vermont at its best, where everyone has the opportunity to build a bright and secure future. Visit vermontcf.org or call 802-388-3355 for more information.
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