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Center for Human Rights and International Justice

Upcoming Events


Same, but Different: Assessing the Interaction of the Migrant Workers’ Rights and Anti-Trafficking Regimes under International Law


Wednesday, April 1
3:00 p.m.
Boston College Newton campus

With Prof. Jayne Huckerby, Duke U. Law School

*Space is limited. Please RSVP to (Room location will be provided)


Religion, Peacebuilding and U.S. Foreign Policy

Thursday, April 9
Fulton 511

With Shaun Casey, State Department Office of Faith-based Community Initiatives

Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life event co-sponsored by the Center.

engle merry

Human Rights and the Social Sciences


Friday, April 10
3:00 p.m.
Boston College Newton campus

With Prof. Sally Engle Merry, New York University Law School

*Space is limited. Please RSVP to (Room location will be provided)

zammit and sammour

Accompaniment During Conflict: The Mission of Jesuit Refugee Service in Syria and the Middle East

Easing suffering and offering hope across sectarian lines

Monday, April 13
4:00 p.m.
Heights Room, Corcoran Commons

With Na​r​was Sammour, SJ, Country Director, JRS Syria and Fr. Michael Zammit, SJ, Regional Director, JRS Middle East

Headlines in the media paint a dark picture of worsening religious, ethnic and political divisions resulting in massive displacement as the Syria crisis enters its fifth year. Amidst this humanitarian catastrophe, Jesuit Refugee Service, working with volunteers and staff of all communities and faiths, holds aloft a light of hope, solidarity, and reconciliation both within Syria and in the neighboring countries hosting millions of Syrian refugees.

Fr. Michael and Fr. Narwas will give personal testimony to the challenges of meeting the basic human needs of the most vulnerable people in a dangerous and often chaotic environment. They will share the inspiration they derive from the example of those Syrians who risk so much to help others, and the communities who open their hearts to provide refuge to the stranger. They will also comment on the present state of the international response, and prospects for the future.

Fr. Michael Zammit. S.J. joined the Society of Jesus in 1980. He went to Cairo, Egypt in 1983 to pursue Arabic studies, and then moved on to Paris to study Philosophy and Theology. During these studies, he spent a total of four years in Lebanon. He moved to Lebanon, working at the Jesuit College Jamhour. In November 2014, he was appointed JRS Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). He currently lives in Beirut. Fr. Nawras Sammour, S.J. joined the Society of Jesus in 1994, studying philosophy and theology in Paris from 1997 to 2002. He specialized in Social Work at St Joseph’s University in Beirut, and he completed his master’s degree in social ethics in Ottawa, Canada in 2007. He returned to Syria in 2007, where he worked with children with disabilities near Homs, and in 2010 was appointed Regional Director for Jesuit Refugee Service, based in Damascus. Nawras completed his term as Regional Director in November 2014, and now serves as Country Director for Syria.

Jesuit Refugee Service MENA currently assists refugees, internally displaced persons, and local communities in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, providing emergency assistance, education, psycho-social support and healthcare.

Co-sponsored by the BC School of Theology and Ministry and the BC School of Social Work.  Light refreshments to be served.

constructing immigrant illegality book cover

Book discussion: Constructing Immigrant 'Illegality': Critiques, Experiences, and Responses

Tuesday, April 28
7:00 p.m. 
Fulton 511

With co-editors Cecilia Menjívar, Professor of Sociology, Arizona St. University and Daniel Kanstroom, Professor of Law, Boston College.

The topic of “illegal” immigration has been a major aspect of public discourse in the United States and many other immigrant-receiving countries. From the beginning of its modern invocation in the early twentieth century, the often ill-defined epithet of human “illegality” has figured prominently in the media; in vigorous public debates at the national, state, and local levels; and in presidential campaigns. In this collection of essays, contributors from a variety of disciplines – anthropology, law, political science, religious studies, and sociology – examine how immigration law shapes immigrant illegality, how the concept of immigrant illegality is deployed and lived, and how its power is wielded and resisted. The authors conclude that the current concept of immigrant illegality is in need of sustained critique, as careful analysis will aid policy discussions and lead to more just solutions.  

To celebrate the launch of the paperback edition of this volume, Professors Menjívar and Kanstroom will join us to discuss this important work.  Light refreshments to be served.


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