Developing leadership skills among immigrant and refugee communities is more important now than ever. Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, there has been a widely reported increase in the hostilities, violence and discrimination against immigrant and refugee communities. Immigrant leaders, with the proper skills and tools, can help the community understand its rights, develop strategies for educating the public about who immigrants and refugees are and the benefits they bring to our society, and work to ensure that any new immigration legislation includes adequate provision of services.

This handbook chronicles the leadership development model explored in a joint initiative of the Lutheran Immigration & Refugee Services and ILRC. The model's core focuses on the relationship between community-based organizations that provide services to immigrants and the immigrant communities they serve. Seeking to enhance the effectiveness of this collaboration can yield new vitality because the uniting of established, experienced organizations with the energy, ideas, skills and concerns of immigrants and refugees can strengthen both the organizations and the communities they serve.

The curriculum in this manual employs interactive teaching techniques with the goal of helping dedicated community leaders develop and refine their leadership and advocacy skills, use such skills in their communities to work on civic issues, and build alliances with community-based organizations.

The handbook describes how to set up a leadership training, including ideas on ways to get funding for the training, how to implement a volunteer program at a community based organization, and how to build immigrant-led civic participation campaigns. Additionally, the handbook describes several immigrant led campaigns that community based organizations have successfully engaged in over the last several years.

This training curriculum is complete and ready to be used. You will find here almost all the materials that you will need for the entire training. The manual includes a combination of actual training units and other text designed to help the trainer succeed in promoting immigrant leadership training and civic participation initiatives. Now is the time to seize this Initiative!