Increasing awareness and understanding the causes of the refugee crisis will be the goal of a forum at Cal State San Bernardino on Tuesday, Feb. 21.
The university’s Center for Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies will host a panel discussion, “Who Are the Refugees,” beginning at 6 p.m. in the College of Education, room CE 105.
Also sponsoring the free event that is open to the public are the University Diversity Committee, the CSUSB Department of Communication Studies, the Mediterranean Studies Academy and the Muslim Students Association. Parking at CSUSB is $6.
“In a climate of fear and hostility against immigrants, especially refugees, and in particular those who are Syrian Muslims, it becomes imperative to educate ourselves about global issues that create the compulsory conditions of fleeing one’s country,” event organizers said. “For the last few years, the desperate faces of refugees have occupied the media landscape. However, in many of these reports and stories, the refugees are simply associated with the Syrian crisis but not given a human face.”
Included in the topics for discussion:
- Who are the refugees?
- Why are they here?
- What challenges do they face?
- How are they admitted to the United States?
A three-speaker panel will provide an opportunity for the audience to gain a deeper awareness about the refugees, and to understand their suffering and needs outside of the anti-immigrant rhetoric and the current atmosphere of “Muslim and refugee ban” executive orders.
The panelists are:
- Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Greater Los Angeles Chapter. Ayloush, who has served as executive director since 1998, has been a lifelong human rights and democracy activist for causes here and abroad. As an expert on American Muslim issues, he regularly appears on local, national and international media; and frequently speaks at schools, Islamic centers, churches, conferences, and universities.
- Nahla Kayali, founder and executive director of Access California Services (AccessCal) and co-founder of the Refugee Forum of Southern California. Since the inception of AccessCal in 1998, Kayali has been described as a leader in the Arab- and Muslim-American, immigrant, and refugee communities in ensuring individuals and families receive access to quality services that encourage linguistic, economic, community, and civic integration. She also currently serves as chairwoman of the Refugee Forum of Orange County and holds the State Refugee Forum Seat for the State Advisory Council on Refugee Assistance and Services.
- Ramla Sahid, executive director of Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans in San Diego. Sahid has served as executive director since 2014 for PANA, which is a research, public policy, and community organizing hub dedicated to advancing the full economic, social and civic inclusion of refugees.
The forum will also be livestreamed at the CSUSB Live Web Cast page. A video window, with the title of the upcoming webcast, is usually scheduled to appear at least one hour prior to the start time of the event.
For questions, please contact Professor Ahlam Muhtaseb, interim director of the Center for Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at email@example.com.