What’s the Big Idea? lecture series

“What’s the Big Idea?” lecture series has ended. Check back late summer for fall offerings.

Recent “What’s the Big Idea?” lecture series topic: Refugees

A father celebrates his family’s safe passage to Lesbos after a stormy crossing over the Aegean Sea from Turkey. © Tom Stoddart, 2015

There are about 65 million refugees or displaced people around the world. The United States has played a leading role in resettlement efforts and welcoming people in need. Orange County alone is home to an estimated 1300 refugees, with more arriving each month. Who qualifies as a refugee? What are the issues facing refugees? How will we address this growing challenge? Engage in discussion with some of Carolina’s leading faculty and community experts, as they share research and insights, from a global, local and humanitarian perspective.

All programs hosted at the Friday Center
10/12, 10/19, & 11/12 programs – 7–8:30 pm
10/26 program – 7-9 pm
Fees: $10 per session or all four for $30.

October 12: Refugee Protection Today: Conflict and Potential

Thursday, October 12. 7-8:30 p.m

The protection of refugees today stands at a precarious place. The number of refugees worldwide is at a high point while the commitment to protect them continues to drop. Liberal democracies face challenges between their stated commitment to helping refugees as part of a larger human rights agenda and their increasingly restrictive rhetoric and action. This tension raises many difficult political and ethical questions but also offers the opportunity to rethink what refugee protection can and should look like.

Niklaus Steiner is the director of the Center for Global Initiatives at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a native of Thun, Switzerland, who moved to Chapel Hill with his family when his father became a professor at Carolina. Nicklaus has had the good fortune of moving between cultures his whole life, so he is deeply committed to providing global opportunities to all Carolina students. He earned a bachelor’s degree with highest honors in international studies at UNC-Chapel Hill and a Ph.D. in political science at Northwestern University. Because of his own movement across borders and cultures, his research and teaching interests are immigration, refugees, nationalism and citizenship.

October 19: Refugees: Pathways, Experiences, and Resettlement

Thursday, October 19. 7-8:30 p.m

Scott’s presentation: Refugees welcomed to the United States come from all over the world, represent a variety of religions, and are invariably hard-working individuals. This session will explore and examine the realities facing refugees resettling in the US, in particular North Carolina; as well as provide updates on current political contexts, such as the travel ban. The session will provide an overview of the refugee issue at the local level with an exploration of the resettlement process, examining both theory as well as practical aspects, through a discussion of local resettlement efforts. The session will also highlight means and methods for community engagement.

Josh’s presentation: Research shows that refugees experience disproportionately high rates of chronic health and mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and other stress-related disorders. Refugees also face a multitude of barriers to accessing healthcare services, including lack of culturally appropriate treatment and limited access to interpretation services. This session will focus on the refugee experience in North Carolina, and explore the ethical obligations of healthcare professionals to participate in their care. The session will also provide information and resources on best practices for working with refugees in North Carolina.

P. Scott Phillips is a native North Carolinian who joined the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants North Carolina Field Office as director in November 2015. Before taking on this role, Dr. Phillips has worked in the fields of community development, civil rights, and advocacy for about 15 years. His experiences include serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ukraine, carrying out research on marginalized groups in Jordan, Israel and the UK, and promoting greater civic engagement at Duke University. He brings a wide-ranging set of skills and experiences to the office of Director. Dr. Phillips received his Ph.D. in Ethnic Relations from the University of Warwick (Coventry UK), a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Duke University, a Master’s in Political Science and a B.A. in Anthropology, both from Appalachian State University.

Quentin Joshua (Josh) Hinson is a clinical assistant professor in the School of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His professional interests include immigration, immigrant health, mental health and substance abuse, community organizing and sustainable development. He received a master’s in Social Work at UNC, with a concentration in Adult Mental Health Direct Practice. Josh also serves as a clinical therapist for El Futuro, Inc., and provides mental health and substance abuse assessments and counseling for Spanish-speaking adults and adolescents. He is the recent recipient of the 2017 UNC School of Social Work’s Excellence in Public Service and Engagement Award.

October 26: Film Screening, Salam Neighbor

Thursday, October 26. 7-9 p.m

Join us for a film screening of Salam Neighbor, a 2016 award-winning feature documentary that shares stories of the heartbreak and hope of refugee life, as told through the experiences of two American filmmakers. Zach Ingrasci and Chris Temple were the first allowed by the United Nations to set up a tent and live among 85,000 Syrians in Jordan’s refugee camp. The session will include a discussion led by Dilshad Jaff, MD, MPH, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Dr. Jaff (himself a refugee now living here) will share his experience from the field working in refugee and Internally Displaced Peoples’ (IDPs) camps, and will provide updates, current challenges and issues related to the refugee crisis.

Dilshad Jaff, MD, MPH, is a research advisor for conflict prevention and disaster preparedness at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health’s Global Health Solutions. He also is a Rotary Peace fellow and holds a Master of Public Health degree from the Gillings School. Dr. Jaff has more than 15 years’ experience in complex humanitarian crises in conflict zones in the Middle East, largely working with the International Committee of the Red Cross. He has experience in designing, implementing, supervising and monitoring health projects and programs during and after complex humanitarian emergencies. In addition to his formal studies in medicine and public health, he has studied medical microbiology with considerable training in conflict resolution.

November 2: In Our Backyard: The Realities of Post-resettlement Life and Community-based Approaches to Rebuilding Home

Thursday, November 2. 7-8:30 p.m

Real-life stories – beyond the facts/figures, de-bugging some of the myths. What are the realities of daily life as a refugee? What are the barriers to refugee support efforts, how do we make them sustainable, what are the benefits and challenges of academic/community partnerships, and what solutions can we provide within the local community, to integrate refugees and respond to the need? Join us as we engage with refugee community leaders, share their stories, celebrate successes, and learn ways the community can get involved.

Madison Hayes, Executive Director, Refugee Community Partnership of Chapel Hill, Carrboro.

Madison’s work centers around building vibrant, sustainable food systems that bolster resilient local economies. She co-founded the Refugee Community Partnership in Carrboro, NC, and designed its community-led food distribution program, The Food Mint, a hallmark of local community-driven food access solutions. She serves on the Board of Directors for three local organizations, and is an advisor and guest instructor at UNC. Prior to The Food Mint, Madison served as Executive Director of the Office of Community Outreach, Dissemination and Education at the UNC Center for AIDS Research. She was the co-leader of a nationwide coalition that plants and grows Community Advisory Boards at health research institutions. In 2014, she presented to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other national leaders on coalition building between academic institutions and communities. Madison holds a degree in Mass Communications from the University of North Carolina-Asheville, and a certification from Duke University in Non-Profit Leadership.

Nicole Accordino is project co-director at Transplanting Traditions Community that helps refugees develop entrepreneurial skills through sustainable farming.  The project is located on an eight-acre plot of land in Chapel Hill, where refugees, most of whom are Burmese, harvest produce to sell.  One hundred percent of the generated profit goes directly back to the farmers. The organization also provides English, communication, public speaking and leadership skills classes as well as childcare in the summer.

LOCATION

Classes are held at the Friday Center, which offers ample free parking. The Friday Center is located approximately three miles east of the UNC-Chapel Hill campus, just off Highway 54 East (Raleigh Road). The Center is a short distance from Interstate 40 (from Raleigh, I-40 exit 273A; from Greensboro, I-40 exit 273). See Map and Directions to the Friday Center.

CONTACT

Additional Contact Information: 919-445-0478. Note: In concordance with University policy, minors are welcome, but must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

If you have an idea for an enrichment class, or know someone who would make a great instructor, please contact Annette Madden.