NOVEMBER 1, 2012
Visiting Professor Westy Egmont, Director of the new Immigrant Integration Lab (IIL) at Boston College Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW), led a group of ten graduate students on a summer elective course to Europe where they took a closer look at the policies and practices of immigrant integration in the European Union (EU). The group of four macro and six clinical practice students met with social service agencies, government officials, and advocacy groups in Oxford, London, Brussels, and Paris to learn more about the immigration challenges facing the EU.
Students held an active role in their own educational experience by leading class discussions, giving agency debriefings, and participating in conversations with agency leaders. As GSSW ambassadors and advocates for human rights, the students helped foster a dialogue around best practices and policies to promote immigrant integration throughout all facets of society.
As part of their final course project, GSSW students were invited to give a formal presentation at the Massachusetts State Office of Refugees and Immigrants (ORI). A group of experts in the field of immigration that included Denis Riordan, head of the Northeast Office of the US Office of Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS); Ron Marlow of the Governor's Office; and Executive Director Eva Millona from the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy (MIRA) Coalition gathered to hear the students' findings and recommendations for enhancing current immigrant integration strategies in the United States. GSSW Dean Alberto Godenzi, in his concluding remarks at the meeting, expressed his enthusiasm for the addition of the IIL as part of the school's commitment to human rights and diversity.