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Center for Human Rights and International Justice

Center hosting symposium "Migration: Past, Present and Future" to celebrate university sesquicentennial anniversary

March 21-22, 2013

Gasson Hall

The Center is very proud to be sponsoring one of the upcoming academic symposia being held to celebrate the sesquicentennial anniversary of the founding of Boston College.  The Center’s symposium is entitled “Migration: Past, Present and Future” and will be held on March 21-22, 2013 at Boston College.  The symposium has been planned over the last two years by a committee of BC faculty members with expertise in migration issues. 

To help kick of the symposium, a naturalization ceremony, in which new U.S. citizens are sworn in, will be held in Robsham Theater at BC at 3:00PM on Thursday, March 21, and is open to the public.

The symposium will officially begin at 7:00PM on thursday, March 21 in Robsham Theater with a keynote lecture by renowned author Richard Rodriguez, of Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez and other notable works.  He will deliver an address entitled “The Border is Not a Straight Line", focusing on his experience as the child of immigrants to the U.S. and his feelings on current issues relating to the contemporary immigration discussion in the U.S.

On Friday, the symposium will begin in the morning with a panel “Forced Migration: Refugees and Economic Migrants”.  The panelists will discuss the background of the refugee phenomenon and how social service agencies work with refugees to attempt to ease their plight and advocate on their behalf.  In addition, gender as it pertains to the evolving concept of a refugee will be explored.

The next panel Friday morning will be “Race and Class in U.S. Immigration”.  The panelists will discuss if, and how, race and class considerations are important in understanding the current immigration situation in this country.

During the following lunch break, BC Professor of History James O’Toole will deliver a lunchtime address entitled “Boston College and the Immigrant Experience: The First 150 Years”.  Prof. O’Toole will recount BC’s history of serving immigrant populations, starting with Irish immigrants and then changing demographics of immigrant groups throughout the last 150 years.

After lunch, the symposium will wrap up with a roundtable discussion in Robsham Theater, moderated by Ray Suarez of PBS NewsHour., entitled “the Future of Migration Policy in the U.S.”.  The speakers will offer their thoughts on the current immigration situation in the U.S. today and their ideas for policy recommendations to address it.

The panels and roundtable will all be followed by a question and answer session with the audience.  The symposium is free and open to the public, but registration will be required.