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Lasell Symposium to Focus on Global Refugee Crisis, Raise Awareness

March 14, 2016

As leaders worldwide debate solutions to the worsening Syrian refugee crisis in the Middle East, the issue and its complexities have become more important than ever to understand. A comprehensive symposium focusing on this topic will be held on Lasell's campus March 23.

The event, The Displaced: A Symposium on Refugees, was organized by Professor Dana Janbek, assistant professor of Public Relations, who has conducted research on Syrian refugees, traveled to Jordan to meet with them in recent months and has published several articles on the Syrian refugee crisis.

"Anyone and everyone who is interested in learning more about the complex issues related to being a refugee should attend," said Janbek.

The symposium will be held on Lasell's campus in de Witt Hall and begins at 9:35 a.m. with a session titled Refugee Realities. Lasell Humanities Professor Dennis Frey Jr., Ph.D. will lead this panel discussion, which includes Eva A. Millona, Executive Director of the MA Immigration and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) and a former Distinguished Donahue Scholar at Lasell, Jennifer Sato, Program Coordinator of the Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights (BCRHHR), and Omar Bah, Founder & Executive Director of Refugee Dream Center. Bah, a former refugee from West Africa and a torture and trauma survivor, also represents the state of Rhode Island at the UN hosted Refugee Congress in Washington, DC.

"It is very important to hear from both refugees and from those working with them. We will have 18 refugees and professionals with them talk about the refugee experience," said Janbek.

Other sessions include Refugee Voices led by discussant Lasell Professor and Rev. Dr. Thomas Sullivan at 11 a.m., Research with Syrian Refugees at 12:45 p.m. led by Janbek with panelists Merissa Khurma, a Harvard University graduate, Professor Madeline Campbell of Worcester State University and Professor Melissa Wall of California State University - Northridge.

Other sessions at the symposium include representatives from Human Rights Watch, the Asylum Program, as well as members of the media who have covered refugee crises across the globe.

The documentary Refugee Kids, which follows students in a New York City summer program for children seeking asylum from the world's most volatile conflicts, will be screened on campus March 22. The co-director and co-producer of the film, Renée Silverman, will also be a panelist at the symposium.

Lasell College and Lasell Village community members do not have to register for this event, however those who are not must register due to limited space. Registration will close on March 14th and is available online.

Questions contact Prof. Dana Janbek -