Eli’s had the pleasure to welcome UN High Commissioner Filippo Grandi of UNHCR and many other officials of RefugeeOne today, March 18th.

Filippo Grandi became the 11th United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on January 1st, 2016. He was elected by the UN General Assembly to serve a five-year term, until December 31st, 2020. Grandi is responsible for of all refugee affairs in the world, and his visit to us Eli’s was greatly appreciated. The visit was a special opportunity for Eli’s associates to share their stories with not only our guests, but with each other.

High Commissioner Filippo Grandi tours Eli's Bakery and chats with associates

High Commissioner Filippo Grandi tours Eli’s Bakery and chats with associates

At Eli’s Cheesecake, we are very proud of our long time partnership with RefugeeOne, the largest full service refugee settlement agency in Illinois. RefugeeOne is a refugee resettlement agency that provides a full range of services to refugees resettled in the Chicago area. Without RefugeeOne, we would would have never met Elias Kasongo, who came to Eli’s Cheesecake in 1994, at the age of 22, after being held for 4 years in a refugee camp in Zambia after leaving his home in the Congo. Over those years, Elias has gone from the dish room to becoming Purchasing & Materials Manager with a degree from Northeastern Illinois University, having a beautiful family and now a home owner. Elias now sits on the Board ofDirectors for RegueeOne and  was a keynote speaker at the 2014 RefugeeOne Gala.

Eli’s is proud to have a number of associates whose lives have been aided by RefugeeOne, and looks forward to continuing our longtime partnership with the Organization.

Eli's Elias Kasongo with Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner

Eli’s Elias Kasongo with Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner

We were delighted to welcome the following guests:

  • Filippo Grandi, High Commissioner UNHCR Geneva
  • Chiara Cardoletti-Carroll, Deputy Regional Representative, UNHCR Washington
  • Brian Hansford, Senior Media Officer, UNHCR Washington
  • Larry Yungk, Senior Resettlement Officer, UNHCR Washington
  • Joshua Lott, Photographer
  • Ngoan Le, Illinois State Refugee Coordinator, Illinois Department of Human Services
  • Melineh Kano, Executive Director, RefugeeOne
  • Mark Youtem, Senior Case Manager, RefugeeOne