Press Release
June 10, 2021

Governor, Lt. Governor to welcome new U.S. citizens during World Refugee Week naturalization ceremony
World Refugee Week 2021 to include a weeklong virtual celebration

SALT LAKE CITY (June 9, 2021) — Governor Spencer Cox and Lt. Governor Deidre Henderson will participate in the naturalization of 14 new citizens during a ceremony at the Utah State Capitol on Tuesday, June 15, at 11:30 a.m. The naturalization ceremony is part of a weeklong celebration of World Refugee Week 2021. The public is invited to watch a livestream of the ceremony at

“Naturalization as a U.S. citizen marks a significant milestone for refugees who have had a long and difficult journey,” said Asha Parekh, director of the Refugee Services Office of the Department of Workforce Services. “It is fitting that we will welcome these new citizens to Utah during our celebration of World Refugee Week.”

Refugees becoming naturalized citizens hail from countries including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bhutan, Burundi, Congo, Iran, Iraq, Nepal, Somalia, Sudan and Thailand. They are among the 65,000 refugees in Utah who will be celebrated during World Refugee Week, June 14-19. 

The annual celebration led by the Refugee Services Office and local refugee organizations will primarily be virtual this year, due to uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 during the planning. From June 14 to 19, Utahns are encouraged to log on to for videos and messages honoring, recognizing and celebrating Utah’s refugees. 

“This virtual format creates an opportunity for everyone to celebrate World Refugee Day, not just those who would normally come to the in-person events,” said Parekh. “Together we can show our love and support to our incredible refugee friends and neighbors.”

Daily activities include videos featuring food, dance, art and refugee achievements, a virtual film festival and shopping at a virtual global market. There is also a dinner and movie night in partnership with Venture Out! on Friday, June 18, from 6-8 p.m. at Cottonwood Regional Park. More information is at