Our History

The COR Center builds on CAL history in refugee education and orientation stretching back to the beginning of the modern era of refugee resettlement. CAL has led national efforts to meet the orientation needs of America’s refugee newcomers since 1975, when CAL’s National Indochinese Clearinghouse and Technical Assistance Center (NICTAC) was launched to provide local communities with information about newly arrived refugees from Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. NICTAC was followed by the Orientation Resource Center (ORC), a national clearinghouse that developed and disseminated Cultural Orientation (CO) materials and promising practices. In 1980, CAL helped establish and design the Overseas Refugee Training Program (ORTP), providing English language instruction and cultural orientation to refugees before they arrived in the United States. Through the ORTP, CAL helped pioneer the innovative learner-centered principles and practices that laid the foundation for CO today. Since the 1995 closure of the ORTP, CAL, through its Refugee Service Center (RSC) and its successor, the COR Center, has worked closely with domestic and overseas partners to improve CO provision to an increasingly diverse refugee population.

Today, the COR Center is funded by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration to ensure that CO is effective, accurate, and culturally and linguistically appropriate, as well as to produce reliable and useful information about refugee groups. The COR Center works closely with U.S. government agencies, international organizations, U.S. refugee resettlement agencies, formerly resettled refugees, Technical Assistance providers, community partners, mainstream service providers, and area specialists to assess needs and develop relevant and timely online and hard-copy orientation resources and group-specific materials. The Center also regularly delivers skills development training, facilitates information exchange, and disseminates information designed for use by refugee service providers, other service providers, local community members, and refugees themselves. 

Access the expanded history of CAL's involvement in refugee education and orientation.