Civil Discourse Symposium 2016

Please join us for the third annual Civil Discourse symposium, "Welcoming Immigrants and Refugees: Community Engagement and Transformation," which will be held on Thursday, November 10, from 5 - 8:30 p.m. in the Paul A. Johnson Conference Hall at the L.V. Eberhard Center on the Robert C. Pew Grand Rapids Campus. This event welcomes all members of the GVSU community as well as local communities across the state. Light dinner food will be provided.

This year’s symposium will offer a venue for the community to engage in a civil discussion on the important topic of immigration by considering both its opportunities and challenges. It will feature a panel of immigrants and refugees and community leaders. From Detroit, we welcome symposium panelist Raquel Garcia Andersen, Global Detroit's Director of Partnerships and Community Outreach; Susan E. Reed, Managing Attorney with the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center; and Amer Zahr, comedian, speaker, writer and adjunct professor at University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.  Panelists from Grand Rapids are Lupe Ramos-Montigny who was elected to the Michigan State Board of Education in 2012 and has worked in Michigan public schools for thirty-six years; Kizombo Kalumbula, one of the lead architects and Pastor of Family Life at Tabernacle Community Church in Grand Rapids; and Anh Nguyet Tran, former translator and interpreter for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Japan and Korea. (Please see panelists’ bios below.)

Through round table discussion and panelist led dialogue, the symposium will offer opportunities to interact with various community organizations engaged with immigrants and refugees, and articulate the forces and dynamics driving global migration and its multidimensional impact on host communities and countries of origin.

The panel will be co-moderated by Dr. Jack Mangala, Padnos/Sarosik Endowed Professor of Civil Discourse, and Alan Headbloom, co-founder of Feel Like You Belong, a Grand Rapids-based multi-resource web portal and TV show that focuses on the immigrant experience.  See a recent interview of Dr. Mangala here.

Once again, the symposium expands upon the Fall term Civil Discourse course, (IDS 350) Immigration: Think Global - Act Local, which takes an interdisciplinary and grassroots approach to the study of immigration. Students are challenged to think critically about the processes and issues driving international migration (globalization, poverty, conflicts, human rights and the environment) as well as its impact on sending and host countries and communities. A core emphasis of the course, and an area of experiential learning for students, will be on grassroots initiatives and local efforts aimed at building welcoming cities and communities for immigrants and refugees. The overarching objective of the course is to enable students to develop the skills and intellectual assets needed to engage in civil discourse on the defining issue of immigration.

This event is approved for LIB 100 and LIB 201.

RSVP Here


Panelists

Raquel Garcia Andersen

Raquel Garcia Andersen spent 15 years in higher education before working as an immigrants rights organizer in southeast Michigan. As the Director of Partnerships and Community Outreach, Raquel works to build community awareness of Global Detroit's southeast Michigan revitalization initiatives. She also establishes relationships and partnerships that focus on empowering people and neighborhoods through economic development tools.

Raquel Garcia Andersen

Susan E. Reed

Susan E. Reed is Managing Attorney with the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center. Susan has practiced immigration and immigrant rights law since 2003. Susan served as a staff attorney at Farmworker Legal Services of Michigan and as a regional attorney for Justice for Our Neighbors, the immigration legal services program of the United Methodist Committee on Relief. Susan is Secretary of the Steering Committee for the Michigan Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (MCIRR) and co-chairs the Advocacy Committee of the Michigan Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). She has served as an advisor to several State Bar of Michigan committees and initiatives.  Susan is also a member of the Detroit City Council Immigration Task Force

See Alan Headbloom's interview with Susan's former employee Lillie Wolff here.

Susan Reed

Lupe Ramos-Montigny

Lupe Ramos-Montigny was elected to the Michigan State Board of Education in 2012. She worked in Michigan public schools for thirty-six years. Most of her professional career was dedicated to the Grand Rapids Public Schools. She has served on the Committee to Honor Cesar E. Chavez, The Cesar E. Chavez Unity Committee, Student Advancement Foundation Board, and the Kent County Citizens Friend of the Court Advisory Board. Lupe brings a real passion for immigrant causes, diversity and education abased on her own life experience as the daughter of immigrant parents. 

See Alan Headbloom's interview with Lupe here.

Lupe Ramos-Montigny

Kizombo Kalumbula

Kizombo Kalumbula serves as one of the lead architects and Pastor of Family Life at Tabernacle Community Church in Grand Rapids. He is also a counselor at Centennial Park Counseling Center. Originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pastor Kalumbula has lived in Grand Rapids, Michigan, for the past fifteen years.  Kizombo is currently writing a doctoral dissertation in health psychology at North Central University.  His research interests include refugee mental health, the intersection of spirituality and health, spirituality and stress management, and critical incident stress management. 

See Alan Headbloom's interview with Kizombo here.

Kizombo

Anh Nguyet Tran

Anh Nguyet Tran is a former translator and interpreter for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Japan and Korea. She worked in Japan for over seven years and was responsible for being a liaison between the UNHCR and the Japanese government, the Korean government and Indochinese refugees. Her duties included coordinating refugee movements, resetting refugees from Japan and Korean to all over the world.  Since 2001, Anh has been the President of Liaison Linguistics, a Grand Rapids-based interpretation and translation service.

See Alan Headbloom's interview with Anh here.

Tran

Amer Zahr

Amer Zahr is a widely acclaimed comedian, speaker, writer, and adjunct professor at University of Detroit Mercy School of Law. Drawing on his experiences growing up as a child of Palestinian parents, he finds the humor in society, culture, and politics. He founded and produced the first-ever "1001 Laughs Ramallah Comedy Festival," a production in Palestine that featured 10 comedians and 7 shows in August 2015.  The festival entertained over 2,000 locals and was funded by the US Consulate General in Jerusalem, a branch of the United States Department of State.  Amer has received great acclaim and much media attention from the numerous media outlets including CNN, CNN Arabic, BBC Arabic and Sky News.

See Alan Headbloom's interview with Amer here.

Amer Zahr