Approximately 200 religious, academic, political, and community leaders will gather at Boston College on March 22 for a day-long program that will examine migrants’ extraordinary impact on social development and innovation.

The seminar, “Contributions of Migrants to Development and Social Innovation in Boston,” co-sponsored by the School of Theology and Ministry and the Scalabrini Centers for Migration in Boston, will also be an opportunity to explore the challenges and best practices to protect and promote the integration of Boston’s immigrant community.

The migration seminar will be held in the Yawkey Athletics Center Murray Room from 3-8 p.m.

Hosffman Ospino
Hosffman Ospino

“One key commitment that has defined the character of the United States of America from its early days is the embrace of immigrants from around the world in their families,” said STM Associate Professor of Hispanic Ministry and Religious Education Hosffman Ospino, who is organizing the event.

“Much of what we are as a nation is the fruit of the labor and contributions of immigrants who now call this land home," he said. "This seminar is an opportunity to reflect on the contributions of immigrants to development and social innovation in Boston. It is not a secret that immigrants in many cities and organizations throughout the United States are a major source of energy for growth and innovation.

“Catholicism, for instance, is being uniquely renewed by the presence and contributions of immigrants, particularly from Latin America, the Caribbean, and Asia, among others," said Ospino, noting that Boston College was founded as a Catholic, Jesuit university to educate countless immigrants and their children.

“Today, Boston College plays a major role in the city of Boston as an intellectual center that facilitates important conversations like this one," he said. "Our commitment to highlighting the gifts of the immigrant community is reflected in the presence of many students, faculty, and administrators who are immigrants as well as in the various programs and initiatives that aim at enhancing the gifts of this community for the good of church, country and the world.”

The seminar will be opened by Boston Archbishop Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, OFM Cap.

Participants will include Bela Hovy, chief of the Migration Section for the United Nations; City of Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria; Alejandra St. Guillen, director of the Boston Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Advancement; Alvaro Lima, director of Research for the City of Boston Planning & Development Agency; Scalabrini International Migration Network Executive Director Fr. Leonir Chiarello; Center for Migration Studies Executive Director Donald Kerwin, and Rev. Volmar Scaravelli of the Brazilian American Center (BRACE).

In addition, Boston-based consuls of the Group of Latin America and Caribbean Countries will discuss the challenges and ways to address the advancement of Boston immigrants.

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–Phil Gloudemans and Kathleen Sullivan | University Communications