About Us

Many Paths, One Journey

 
Vanda Berninger (left) and Wendy Chan (right), co-founders of the One Journey movement.

Vanda Berninger (left) and Wendy Chan (right), co-founders of the One Journey movement.

In 1991, as civil war broke out in Croatia, Vanda Berninger left her home country for Germany. In 1989, Wendy Chan immigrated to the United States, as a young girl from China, to unite with her extended family, many of whom had fled China as refugees to escape the civil war.

 Both Vanda and Wendy now live in the Washington DC area, and together, they are building a movement. With a diverse coalition of allies, they are raising awareness of the global refugee crisis, helping the public see the contributions and talents of refugees and displaced people. These efforts aim to celebrate diversity and combat the growing nativism and apathy towards a humanitarian crisis of historic scale.

Compelled by their personal experiences and inspired by the United Nations TOGETHER Campaign, Vanda and Wendy launched the One Journey movement in September 2017.

Our Vision

A world where refugees and other displaced people are welcomed, valued, and supported so they and their host communities can thrive together.

Our Mission

One Journey amplifies refugee voices and enhances public awareness of refugee talents and contributions. We strive to build enduring allies for refugees and use cultural and technological tools to facilitate human connections between refugees and their host communities.

Our Team

 

FOUNDERS

 
Wendy Chan  is the co-founder of NOVA Friends of Refugees, a grassroots coalition dedicated to helping and welcoming refugees. Wendy immigrated to the US from China when she was twelve years old. Her humble, blue-collar immigrant background helped her appreciate the courage and tenacity of the refugees and see the talents they could bring to America. Wendy leads the 600-member coalition in helping refugees through advocacy, social services, and community engagement.

Wendy Chan

is the co-founder of NOVA Friends of Refugees, a grassroots coalition dedicated to helping and welcoming refugees. Wendy immigrated to the US from China when she was twelve years old. Her humble, blue-collar immigrant background helped her appreciate the courage and tenacity of the refugees and see the talents they could bring to America. Wendy leads the 600-member coalition in helping refugees through advocacy, social services, and community engagement.

Vanda Berninger  immigrated to Germany in 1991 as a civil war refugee from Croatia, former Yugoslavia. In Germany, Vanda served as the spokesperson for immigrant and refugee policy for a major German political party in Frankfurt/ Main and the Executive Director for the Organization Against Sexual and Racist Exploitation. Currently, Vanda leads strategic partnership effort to influence public perception of refugees in positive/celebratory way, identify innovative partnership solutions for humanitarian responses, and develop long-term strategy to increase public understanding of the global displacement crisis.

Vanda Berninger

immigrated to Germany in 1991 as a civil war refugee from Croatia, former Yugoslavia. In Germany, Vanda served as the spokesperson for immigrant and refugee policy for a major German political party in Frankfurt/ Main and the Executive Director for the Organization Against Sexual and Racist Exploitation. Currently, Vanda leads strategic partnership effort to influence public perception of refugees in positive/celebratory way, identify innovative partnership solutions for humanitarian responses, and develop long-term strategy to increase public understanding of the global displacement crisis.

 

ONE JOURNEY FESTIVAL CORE TEAM

 
Jocelyn Ueng - Communications, Website & Marketing  A growth strategist by day, social innovator by heart, Jocelyn leads change by empathizing and learning from all those around.

Jocelyn Ueng - Communications, Website & Marketing

A growth strategist by day, social innovator by heart, Jocelyn leads change by empathizing and learning from all those around.

Anna Harty - Communications, Website & Marketing  Anna Harty works for the International Women's Human Rights Clinic and Domestic Violence Clinic at Georgetown Law. She is passionate about social justice and service.

Anna Harty - Communications, Website & Marketing

Anna Harty works for the International Women's Human Rights Clinic and Domestic Violence Clinic at Georgetown Law. She is passionate about social justice and service.

Sarah Sukin - Communications, Website & Marketing  Sarah Sukin brings her passion for interdisciplinary creativity, inclusion, and diversity to the One Journey movement as a graphic designer.

Sarah Sukin - Communications, Website & Marketing

Sarah Sukin brings her passion for interdisciplinary creativity, inclusion, and diversity to the One Journey movement as a graphic designer.

Yogi Medepalli - Communications, Website & Marketing  I was drawn to take up the cause to advocate for refugees in our communities. One Journey’s mission to advocate and celebrate refugees is a cause truly worth fighting for.

Yogi Medepalli - Communications, Website & Marketing

I was drawn to take up the cause to advocate for refugees in our communities. One Journey’s mission to advocate and celebrate refugees is a cause truly worth fighting for.

Meera Chakravarthy - Festival Programming  (Music Committee) When art is used as a platform to express thoughts and understand crisis, people achieve a state of empathy and connection that is hard to find elsewhere. As an artist, I am honored to be a part of helping this mission come to fruition.

Meera Chakravarthy - Festival Programming

(Music Committee) When art is used as a platform to express thoughts and understand crisis, people achieve a state of empathy and connection that is hard to find elsewhere. As an artist, I am honored to be a part of helping this mission come to fruition.

Sarah Robinson- Festival Programming  (Dance Committee) Sarah is a research professional in the DC area dedicated to using the arts as a platform for dialogue and growth. She is passionate about assisting immigrants and refugees and appreciates what they add to our local and national communities.

Sarah Robinson- Festival Programming

(Dance Committee) Sarah is a research professional in the DC area dedicated to using the arts as a platform for dialogue and growth. She is passionate about assisting immigrants and refugees and appreciates what they add to our local and national communities.

Matt Tully- Festival Programming  (Sports Committee) One of the most effective ways to build trust between individuals on a human level is through sports. Growing up playing sports, I saw this first hand and created lifelong friendships with people I never would have interacted with outside of sports.

Matt Tully- Festival Programming

(Sports Committee) One of the most effective ways to build trust between individuals on a human level is through sports. Growing up playing sports, I saw this first hand and created lifelong friendships with people I never would have interacted with outside of sports.

Ahmad Abdelrahim - Student Engagement  Ahmad is a graduate student at American University. He is part of the student engagement and soccer event planning teams.

Ahmad Abdelrahim - Student Engagement

Ahmad is a graduate student at American University. He is part of the student engagement and soccer event planning teams.

Margaret Hodson - Student Engagement  Margaret Hodson studies international politics and Arabic at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service and works with the 1JF student engagement team.

Margaret Hodson - Student Engagement

Margaret Hodson studies international politics and Arabic at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service and works with the 1JF student engagement team.

Aida Murad - Sponsorship & Fundraising Team  Aida is a social entrepreneur, artist and the Founder of AIDA Creatives, a firm aimed to bridge the worlds of the creative economy and social impact. Her purpose is to unlock human potential and bring one's 'Why' to life.

Aida Murad - Sponsorship & Fundraising Team

Aida is a social entrepreneur, artist and the Founder of AIDA Creatives, a firm aimed to bridge the worlds of the creative economy and social impact. Her purpose is to unlock human potential and bring one's 'Why' to life.

Cyndie Cota - Sponsorship & Fundraising Team  Currently, as the Manager of Administration at Washington National Cathedral, Cyndie has a broad range of experience in administrative/logistical affairs and operations, ranging from human resources and security to development and special events.

Cyndie Cota - Sponsorship & Fundraising Team

Currently, as the Manager of Administration at Washington National Cathedral, Cyndie has a broad range of experience in administrative/logistical affairs and operations, ranging from human resources and security to development and special events.

Julia Duncan - Partnerships Logistics  “All of our families, at one point in time, were immigrants to America. That’s what makes the promise of our country so inspiring and welcoming. This festival will celebrate our diversity and I’m proud to be a part of it.”

Julia Duncan - Partnerships Logistics

“All of our families, at one point in time, were immigrants to America. That’s what makes the promise of our country so inspiring and welcoming. This festival will celebrate our diversity and I’m proud to be a part of it.”

Ahmad Beetar - Community Engagement  Ahmad Beetar is a social activist, entrepreneur, and ex-journalist from Syria, who moved to the U.S., 5-years ago due to the escalated situation there. In Syria, he led the “Eye on Aleppo” Intitiative, a cultural and volunteering movement, which attracted more than 20,000 members. He was active in many local and national NGOs.

Ahmad Beetar - Community Engagement

Ahmad Beetar is a social activist, entrepreneur, and ex-journalist from Syria, who moved to the U.S., 5-years ago due to the escalated situation there. In Syria, he led the “Eye on Aleppo” Intitiative, a cultural and volunteering movement, which attracted more than 20,000 members. He was active in many local and national NGOs.

Dahlia Mansour - Global Marketplace  “I am a former refugee, I went through the ‘ongoing’ struggles and challenges of being forced to leave home – I am grateful for my second chance in life in this amazing country! I have survived three wars and today I can’t but live peace through helping others by paying back the debt of gratitude”

Dahlia Mansour - Global Marketplace

“I am a former refugee, I went through the ‘ongoing’ struggles and challenges of being forced to leave home – I am grateful for my second chance in life in this amazing country! I have survived three wars and today I can’t but live peace through helping others by paying back the debt of gratitude”

Jack DiMatteo - Awareness Events/Student Engagement  Jack DiMatteo is a fellow with When We All Vote and a graduate student at the University of Virginia, where he hosted a One Journey film screening and panel discussion in February 2019.

Jack DiMatteo - Awareness Events/Student Engagement

Jack DiMatteo is a fellow with When We All Vote and a graduate student at the University of Virginia, where he hosted a One Journey film screening and panel discussion in February 2019.

Khadija Sifelhak - Finance & Budget  Khadija is a Moroccan immigrant who is very passionate about immigrants and refugees issues. Khadija is a believer that every one of us should be “what’s right” with the world we live in. She brings her finance expertise to the 1 Journey Festival movement.

Khadija Sifelhak - Finance & Budget

Khadija is a Moroccan immigrant who is very passionate about immigrants and refugees issues. Khadija is a believer that every one of us should be “what’s right” with the world we live in. She brings her finance expertise to the 1 Journey Festival movement.

Maggie Miller - Take Action / Volunteer Management  Maggie is a lead for the Take Action tent, bringing together refugee nonprofit partners to build a more engaged and inclusive community in DC and the broader area.

Maggie Miller - Take Action / Volunteer Management

Maggie is a lead for the Take Action tent, bringing together refugee nonprofit partners to build a more engaged and inclusive community in DC and the broader area.

Wolfram Alderson - Art & Storytelling Lead  Wolfram Alderson's career in pursuit of social and environmental change spans across four decades. He currently serves as CEO of the Hypoglycemia Support Foundation and consults in diverse areas of social change (Impacts.Social).

Wolfram Alderson - Art & Storytelling Lead

Wolfram Alderson's career in pursuit of social and environmental change spans across four decades. He currently serves as CEO of the Hypoglycemia Support Foundation and consults in diverse areas of social change (Impacts.Social).

Feras Nabulsi - Website Design Lead  It is an obligation for everyone living in a safe place to open their doors to those in desperate need of shelter and better opportunities in life.

Feras Nabulsi - Website Design Lead

It is an obligation for everyone living in a safe place to open their doors to those in desperate need of shelter and better opportunities in life.

Kenn Speicher - Messaging, Outreach  A retired ad agency president and writer, Kenn is a founder of NOVA Friends of Refugees, a grassroots network that welcomes, assists, and advocates for refugees. His compassion for the displaced grew from his experience in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.

Kenn Speicher - Messaging, Outreach

A retired ad agency president and writer, Kenn is a founder of NOVA Friends of Refugees, a grassroots network that welcomes, assists, and advocates for refugees. His compassion for the displaced grew from his experience in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.

Bianca Malhotra - International Food Lane  Bianca loves discovering cities through food. She believes a meal can bring people from all walks of life to the same table and create harmony in any environment. She looks forward to sharing some awesome eats with you at the festival!

Bianca Malhotra - International Food Lane

Bianca loves discovering cities through food. She believes a meal can bring people from all walks of life to the same table and create harmony in any environment. She looks forward to sharing some awesome eats with you at the festival!

Stephen Pinto - Communications, Website & Marketing  Stephen is a software product manager & tech consultant living in Los Angeles. Humbled by experiences gained by traveling to 25+ countries with the State Dept, Stephen became passionate about mentoring and working to provide other refugees & immigrants the opportunity he was provided by his immigrant parents journey.

Stephen Pinto - Communications, Website & Marketing

Stephen is a software product manager & tech consultant living in Los Angeles. Humbled by experiences gained by traveling to 25+ countries with the State Dept, Stephen became passionate about mentoring and working to provide other refugees & immigrants the opportunity he was provided by his immigrant parents journey.