A renowned expert in refugee resettlement and a Syrian refugee living in Dallas are featured speakers in SMU’s first Refugee and Forced Migration Symposium.
“Whose Protection? Interrogating Displacement and the Limits of Humanitarian Welcome” will also feature presentations from SMU graduate students. It is open to the public Thursday and Friday, Jan. 28-29, in 144 Annette Caldwell Simmons Hall.
Delivering the symposium’s keynote address is George Mason University Professor David W. Haines, a renowned expert on refugee resettlement in the United States. Haines’ lecture, “Remembering Refugees,” is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 28 in 144 Simmons Hall, preceded by a 30-minute reception at 5 p.m.
SMU Anthropology Graduate Student Shay Cannedy and four of her peers organized the symposium, which continues from 3-5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29, also in 144 Simmons, with remarks from Syrian refugee Ghada Mukdad and presentations from SMU graduate students.
Mukdad, who was stranded in the United States when the outbreak of civil war prevented her from returning home in 2012, will speak about the conflict in Syria and her own legal struggles to gain official refugee status. Ghada is the founder of the Zain Foundation, a global human rights advocacy group, and an advisory board member of the Syrian Civil Coalition, which advocates for the victims of Syria’s refugee crisis.
Cannedy and fellow graduate students Katherine Fox, Sara Mosher, Ashvina Patel and will each present a lecture based on their own research into refugee issues around the world, from Thailand to San Francisco.
“Given current large-scale refugee movements in Europe and the Syrian refugee controversies in Texas, we thought a symposium would be a good way to open discussion on the topic and bring forth something from our own research,” Cannedy says. “A lot of countries are rethinking their migration policies and how we treat asylum seekers, so it’s on the forefront of people’s minds right now.
“Some people view refugees and migrants as more of a security issue than a human rights issue,” Cannedy adds. “But the new Canadian administration, for example, emphasizes making a compassionate welcome rather than closing borders, so we’ll be talking about how different migration policies impact the lives of people who come into contact with them.”
— Kenny Ryan