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29 individuals become U.S. citizens during Jacksonville World Refugee Day 2023

Updated: Jun 26, 2023

29 individuals spanning from 10 countries were sworn in as U.S. citizens during World Refugee Day celebrations in Jacksonville, Florida on Tuesday, June 20th.

World Refugee Day, June 20th, is an international day of celebration, dedicated to honoring refugees worldwide. To observe the occasion, local refugee agencies welcomed the community at an event from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Jessie Ball duPont Center in downtown Jacksonville, FL.

The celebration began with 29 individuals sworn in as U.S. citizens during a naturalization ceremony.

The rest of the event was dedicated to honoring refugees and members of the community who have worked together to support refugee resettlement.

A client of Lutheran Social Services of Northeast Florida, Nicol Kabeya, received the Resiliency Award; Kabeya told the story of her journey to the United States in a film played during the event.

In addition, one of LSS’ youngest volunteer, Jahan Oza, was recognized for his compassion and generous heart.

The event also included performances and refugee testimonials.

Jahan Ozan (right) pictured with LSSNEFL CEO & President Bill Brim during World REfugee Day celebration in Jacksonville on June 20th, 2023. Jahan was presented a service award for his work in donating toys, supplies and food to refugee children.

LSS CEO Bill Brim said he was honored to welcome guests to the event.

“Refugees make our community more vibrant and culturally rich,” Brim said. “Jacksonville is truly a warm and welcoming city, and you see that every year at this event with so many people coming out to pay tribute to their refugee neighbors.”

As the ceremony ended, attendees were encouraged to continue celebrating by participating in activities like face painting, henna, and an art exhibit.

Guests enjoyed food provided by Apna Bazaar, Ruz Bukhari Grille, Nara Restaurant & Lounge, Thai Spice Kitchen. Event sponsors Catholic Charities, American Red Cross, and Duval County Public Schools also provided food for the event.

LSS is the contract manager for all refugee services in Northeast Florida. Under LSS’s leadership and in partnership with other agencies, Northeast Florida served more than 2,000 refugees last year.

Scroll through the gallery below to see photos from World Refugee Day in Jacksonville.

Click here to learn more about our refugee resettlement programs and services.


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