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In 1991, as 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 alliance. 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 alliance in September 2017.




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



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.



One Journey’s grassroots movement began in September 2017. With hundreds of volunteers, sponsors, and partners, our team of community organizers has hosted 45+ refugee awareness-raising and celebratory events.


Our signature event is the annual One Journey Festival. The first two were held in June 2018 and June 2019 on the grounds of the Washington National Cathedral and drew thousands of participants. Raising awareness worldwide, One Journey’s message of “many paths, one journey” reached more than 275,000 people globally. Highlights included a cooking show with Chef José Andrés, a live interactive experience with refugees in Iraq, Rwanda and Mexico, and appearances by the Pichintu Girls Chorus and UN Goodwill Ambassadors. More>

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

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One Journey Impact

In just four years, the One Journey movement has reached thousands of people locally through our events and partners, and hundreds of thousands more through our virtual channels. This reach has translated to increased awareness, substantial opportunities for local refugees, and thousands of community members taking action through our NGO partners. Using music, dance, art, storytelling, technology, and food, we celebrate the talents and stories of refugees and put a human face to the global refugee crisis. Learn more about the steps One Journey took to keep the movement advancing during the pandemic in our 2020-2021 Impact Report.

Previous Impact Reports


Meet our Core Volunteer Team. Together, they supply the leadership, energy, and creativity that drives our success. 



Wendy Chan - Founder

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 refugees and see the talents they can bring to America. In 2016, Wendy co-founded NOVA Friends of Refugees, a grassroots coalition dedicated to welcoming, assisting, and advocating for refugees. This 1,000-member coalition helps refugees access social services and transition smoothly to their new country. The importance of community engagement in this effort helped her shape the mission of One Journey.


Vanda Berninger - Founder

Vanda is a global nomad. As a young student, she immigrated to Germany just as a war broke out in Croatia, her home country. Later, she joined the German Green Party in Frankfurt am Main and served as a spokesperson for immigration and refugee policies at state and local levels. She also contributed to the Office of Multicultural Affairs, unique at that time to Frankfurt am Main, and experienced firsthand the importance of positive visibility and public perception of refugees and immigrants in shaping inclusive policies. These experiences helped her envision the One Journey coalition. Vanda has lived in US with her family since 2009.


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. One Journey celebrates our diversity and I’m proud to be a part of it.”


Khadija Sifelhak

Finance & Budget

Khadija is a Moroccan immigrant who is 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 One Journey alliance.

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Kenn Speicher

Messaging, Outreach, Advocacy

“I am so proud of our hundreds of volunteers. Every day, they give me hope.” Kenn is a retired advertising executive, writer, and co-founder of NOVA Friends of Refugees. His compassion for the displaced grew from his experience in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.



Cyndie Cota

Sponsorship & Fundraising

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.

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Matt Tully

Sports Engagement

Matt serves as the lead for One Journey soccer events, where he combines his passions for soccer and serving the refugee community to bring people together through the common language of sport.

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Mara Staines

Technology Tent

Mara is a software developer living in Arlington, VA. She is passionate about introducing young people to careers in technology, especially those from populations who are currently underrepresented in IT.

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Nafiseh Jafarzadeh

Kids Tent Programming

"I am an environmental specialist, currently working as a consultant at the World Bank, focusing on the South Asia region. I have working experience in Afghanistan and Iraq, and very much interested in humanitarian sector."

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Lindsay Wozniak

Website Designer/Developer

Lindsay founded Red Fish Studios to help non-profits to create innovative marketing solutions to help ensure their success. She provides consulting to help One journey to stay on the forefront of digital marketing trends.

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Lauren Mizus

Volunteer Management

Licensed clinical social worker from the DC area dedicated to lifting up under represented voices. I find human behavior and culture fascinating and love to travel and explore. I am so excited to volunteer with One Journey and look forward to what is ahead.

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Anna Harty

Communications & Marketing

Anna is passionate about social justice and refugee advocacy in particular. One of Anna's favorite quotes that sums up her interests comes from Desmond Tutu: "My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together."

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Karla Kramer

Music and Dance Programming

Karla brings her passion for movies to One Journey and coordinates film screenings featuring refugee documentaries. As a proud Chickasaw, Karla is familiar with her ancestors plight of becoming refugees in their own land, and believes whole-heartedly in One Journey’s cause to celebrate refugees and their talents through cultural programming.

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Rodolfo Scannone

Volunteer Management

Venezuelan in DC. Education Consultant focused in results-based financing models and partnership building to transform education systems. M.S. in Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University and B.A. in Mass Communication from Universidad Católica Andrés Bello (UCAB).

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Sonya Marsden

Kids Tent Programming

Sonya Marsden is a policy analyst who worked at the Government Accountability Office for 15 years in Education Policy.  Sonya is currently studying International Development as a graduate student at George Mason University, serves as an outreach leader at Holy Cross Episcopal Church in Vienna, VA, and is a full time mom to a great human. 

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Dimple Dhabalia

Storytelling Tent

Dimple Dhabalia is an entrepreneur, visual storyteller, and global foodie who spent a number of years traveling around the world bearing witness to the stories of thousands of refugees trying to resettle in the United States. Those experiences and her role as the daughter of first generation immigrants had a profound impact and led Dimple to recognize the power storytelling has to bridge gaps, and to help us connect with one another on a human level. Through her role on the One Journey Core Team Dimple looks forward to using various forms of storytelling to create community and celebrate humanity.

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Dana Lea

Communications & Press/
Media Relations

Dana Lea is the Senior Manager of Civil Society Engagement at Endeavors, a Texas-based nonprofit, where she manages engagement for the Migrant Services team providing sheltering of migrant families and children at the Southwest border. She previously has over seven years of experience in the local refugee resettlement field coordinating community engagement, advocacy, fundraising and development, strategic marketing and communications, and cultural integration of families and individuals. Dana also volunteers with KAMA DC and the Immigration Film Festival steering committee.

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Emily Torres

One Journey Intern

Emily is a recent graduate from the University of Montevallo, located in central Alabama, with a B.S. in Political Science and a minor in Human Rights and Public Service. She plans on dedicating her life to securing and defending human rights for all, especially the right to seek and enjoy asylum as well as freedom of movement. Volunteering with One Journey is a huge step in the right direction to fulfilling that mission!

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Katie Fix 

One Journey Intern

Katie Fix is a senior at Northern Arizona University, studying for a B.A. in International Affairs and a B.A. in Spanish, along with a minor in Community Engagement. Katie hopes to pursue a career in social work and community-based education, where she has a particular interest in supporting immigrant and refugee communities. Given her academic and professional interests, along with a passion for creating and connecting through the arts, Katie feels that One Journey is a perfect fit and an extraordinary opportunity for an internship experience.


Our grateful thanks to the many nonprofit and business partners who host and support our events.

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