A two-day conference at Boston College will examine the rise of exclusionary politics and policies against migrants around the world, and consider the most effective means to protect, and promote understanding of, the rights of non-citizens.

The Boston College Global Migration Conference will take place April 11-12 at Boston College Law School, which is co-sponsoring the event with the BC School of Social Work. 

Leading experts—academics, policymakers, activists, refugee rights advocates, and mental health professionals—will speak on global trends and the tensions between inclusion and exclusion of migrants. Discussions will include a focus on whether current professional legal and social work service models are sufficient to address issues of migration.

BC Law Dean Vincent Rougeau and BCSSW Dean Gautam Yadama will present opening remarks at the conference, which features a series of panels on different facets of global migration. A number of BC faculty will take part in these sessions, including BC Law Professor Daniel Kanstroom—co-director of the BC Center for Human Rights and International Justice—Associate Professor Katherine Young, and Immigration Clinic Director and Associate Clinical Professor Mary Holper; Salem Professor in Global Practice Theresa Betancourt, Assistant Dean of Global Programs Thomas Crea, Associate Professor Margaret Lombe, Research Professor Maryanne Loughry, and Associate Professor of Macro Practice Westy Egmont of BCSSW; Lynch School of Education and Human Development Professor Brinton Lykes, co-director of the BC Center for Human Rights and International Justice; and Professor of Political Science Peter Skerry.

“Global migration is a tremendously critical issue for our times,” said Betancourt, who serves as a faculty organizer for the conference along with Egmont, Holper, Kanstroom, Young, and BCSSW Associate Dean for Research David Takeuchi. “We currently are facing the largest humanitarian crisis since World War II, with conflicts in Syria and Yemen, for example. The human rights and dignity of populations fleeing violence around the world require global and interdisciplinary dialogue. This reality is all the more compelling in light of the traumatic separation of children and caregivers at the U.S.-Mexico border. Stakeholders from all sides have an important role to play in addressing these global challenges. 

“It’s exciting that the BC School of Social Work and the Law School have opened up this interdisciplinary space to have these conversations. We look forward to what is truly going to be a momentous event and an opportunity for BC to continue its work on these topics.”

Other panelists include Boston Children’s Hospital Refugee Trauma and Resilience Center Community Relations Director Saida Abdi; Catholic Relief Services President and CEO Sean Callahan; Texas Law School Immigration Clinic Director Denise Gilman; Center for Migration Studies Director Donald Kerwin; and José Luis Rocha Gómez, senior researcher at the Universidad Rafael Landívar in Guatemala and associate researcher with the University of Manchester Brooks World Poverty Institute. 

Visit the Global Migration Conference website for more details.

—Sean Smith | University Communications | April 2019