The 2023-24 E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues continues with a youth panel discussion, “Displacement and Reimagining the American Dream,” at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 14 at the Wick Alumni Center.
The event is free and open to the public, but space is limited so attendees are encouraged to R.S.V.P. here. Doors open and food will be served at 6:30 p.m., with the panel beginning at 7 p.m. Attendees are welcome to volunteer as “table hosts” to help facilitate conversations, by indicating their interest in the R.S.V.P.
The interactive event, co-sponsored by the Chancellor’s Diversity Commissions, will feature local students and young professionals sharing their experiences as immigrants and refugees. The panelists will tell their stories and respond to questions on a range of relevant topics.
The panel will feature:
Reem Ahmed, a sophomore psychology and nutritional science and dietetics major at Nebraska, who serves as vice president of the African Student Association and an ASUN senator for the College of Arts and Sciences; her family is from Sudan and immigrated to Lincoln when she was 5;
Dulce Garcia, a recent Husker graduate and former president of Define American, an organization focused on advocacy and education for the undocumented, immigrant and refugee communities; she was a 2023 Chancellor’s Fulfilling the Dream Award winner and 2022 Inspire Young Leader Award finalist;
Tut Kailech, a community organizer and marketing specialist for NeighborWorks, whose family fled South Sudan and spent two years in a refugee camp before relocating to the United States; the 2020 Husker alumnus produces a self-help podcast titled “Blazin’ a Trail,” in which Lincoln residents share stories of overcoming adversity;
Anna Synya, a criminology and criminal justice major at Nebraska, whose family is from Ukraine and immigrated to Lincoln when she was a young child; she has collected donations to support local refugees and her family still in Ukraine.
The panel will be moderated by Karla Hernandez Torrijos, the inaugural Student Storyteller in Residence with the Center for Great Plains Studies. She is an undergraduate student, poet and workshop facilitator whose writing “interrogates our understanding of home, displacement and the liminal space in between.” She received the 2022-23 Irby F. Wood Prize for Poetry and the 2020-21 Vreeland Award for Poetry and was the 2021-22 Creative in Community resident for the LUX Center for the Arts.
This year’s Thompson Forum series is organized around the theme “Uprooted: Migration, Displacement and Searching for Home.” The number of people displaced by conflicts, disasters and economic crises has risen to a new high of more than 89 million, including more than 30 million refugees and asylum seekers. “Uprooted” shares stories of displaced people in search of hope and home.
The series opened Sept. 18 with “A World on the Move: The Forces Uprooting Us,” featuring global strategy adviser, world traveler and bestselling author Parag Khanna. It continues with Lynsey Addario, an American photojournalist who regularly shoots photographs for The New York Times, National Geographic and Time magazine, presenting “Of Love and War: Stories of Tragedy and Resilience” at 7 p.m. March 5 at the Lied Center for Performing Arts. Leilani Farha, former U.N. special rapporteur and global director of The Shift, will close the series with “Back Home: Returning Human Rights to Housing” at 7 p.m. April 9 at the Lied.
All events are free and open to the public. Events are streamed on the Thompson Forum website.
The E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues is a cooperative project of the Cooper Foundation, Lied Center and University of Nebraska–Lincoln. The series was established in 1988 with the purpose of bringing a diversity of viewpoints on international and public policy issues to the university and people of Nebraska to promote understanding and encourage discussion.
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