Exploring the Quest for Refuge in America and Around the Globe

Panel discussions, film screenings and guest lecturers will provide myriad opportunities for the community to engage in informed dialogue on the current state of refugees around the world

A collage of refugees inside the pupil of an eye.
Public Affairs Staff

BRISTOL, R.I. – With staggering numbers of displaced people seeking refuge around the world today and the global public discourse trending toward issues of tolerance and identity, Roger Williams University will host events throughout the fall and spring semesters that examine the stories of refugees and the political and cultural impact of the refugee movement on society.

Panel discussions, film screenings and guest lecturers will provide myriad opportunities for the community to engage in informed dialogue around the factors that cause people to flee their home countries, how they are persecuted and aided on their journeys, and the ways that society can help displaced people seek refuge and rebuild their lives. The “Quest for Refuge” series — featured in the recent Providence Journal article "Impact of the world's refugees to be explored" — will reflect critically on the current state of refugees around the world and their stories of tragedy and loss as well as courage and resilience.

All events are open to the public with the exception of two noted below, which are only open to the campus community.

  • Mary Tefft White Cultural Center Talking in the Library Series: Syrian Student and Activist Sana Mustafa
    Thursday, September 22 • 4:30 pm
    Mary Tefft White Cultural Center – University Library
    A Syrian native and student activist, Sana Mustafa has successfully claimed asylum in the U.S. and has become a national spokesperson for those seeking refuge from the devastating conflict in Syria. She will share her perspectives on the challenges of the Syrian refugee crisis.
  • Panel Discussion: “Displaced Minorities in the Middle East”
    Monday, October 3 • 5:00 pm
    School of Law – Appellate Court Room 283
    This discussion will focus on the existential threat faced by ancient minority and indigenous communities (in particular Yazidis and Assyrians) due to the destruction and displacement wrought in the wake of the Islamic State, Syrian Civil War, and rising Kurdish nationalist project.
  • Presentation and Roundtable Discussions: "Syrian Refugees and the Politics of Humanitarianism"
    Wednesday, October 12
    School of Law — Dining Area

    The School of Education presents Dr. Yasser Munif, assistant professor in the Institute for Liberal Arts & Interdisciplinary Studies at Emerson College. Dr. Munif's presentation will be followed by roundtable discussions.
  • Film Screening and Discussion: “Lual and Leila”
    Friday, October 21 • 5:00 pm
    Saturday, October 22 • 10:30 am
    Global Heritage Hall 01
    “Real Man” Rodriquez, a resettled refugee from the Kakuma camp in Kenya, and Stash Wislocki, a filmmaker from FilmAid/Telluride Mountain Film Festival, will host a film screening of “Lual and Leila,” followed by questions and answers. Written, directed, filmed and acted by refugees, the 20-minute film tells the story of a forbidden love between a Muslim and non-Muslim living in a refugee camp.
  • RWU Student Humanitarian Summit: “Shaping RWU’s Response to the Global Humanitarian Crisis”
    Sunday, October 23
    GHH Atrium • 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
    Roger for Refugees and other RWU student organizations and clubs will convene a Student Community Humanitarian Summit to consider the needs currently posed by the global humanitarian crisis, and formulate ideas, approaches, and recommendations for the RWU campus community. The Summit will explore how to mobilize community interest and action, and lay groundwork for subsequent collaborative student-led programming and advocacy.
    This event is open to the campus community only.
  • Dance Basement Series: “Living in Limbo: Stateless Identities”
    Friday, November 11 • 1:50 to 3:30 pm
    Global Heritage Hall Atrium
    A performance art installation created by RWU Dance and Performance Studies students, the piece explores the intimacies of universal themes, such as home, loss, disorientation and the nature of hope amidst relentless challenges. 
  • Panel Discussion: “Middle Eastern Refugees in Europe: Toward an Historical and Holistic Understanding of a Contemporary Human Crisis”
    Tuesday, November 15 • 4:30 pm
    Marine & Natural Sciences Building, Room 200
    Social scientists who study the everyday lives and political statuses of refugees in Europe, the Middle East, and North America will share their insights about immigration, the international refugee crisis, and the humanitarian costs of wars in the Middle East.
  • Panel Discussion: “Quest for Refuge” hosted by RWU President Donald Farish
    Monday, November 21 • 6:00 to 7:30 pm
    School of Law – Appellate Court Room 283
    Local community leaders from Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America will discuss with President Farish how the United States has served historically as a place of refuge. This event is co-sponsored by Roger for Refugees, Africana Student Coalition, International Relations Organization, Multicultural Student Union.
  • Rhode Island Storytelling: Quests for Refuge Showcase
    Sunday, December 11 • 5 pm
    Mary Tefft White Cultural Center – University Library
    This event features a multimedia gallery opening of short works prepared by RWU students working with Rhode Island community members from diverse backgrounds and regions of the world, who have pursued the quest for refuge and come to call Rhode Island home. It will showcase and celebrate the outcomes of this project, and the diverse heritage mosaic that is Rhode Island.
    This event is open to the campus community only.

For more information and resources related to “The Quest for Refuge” series, please visit http://rwu.libguides.com/QuestForRefuge/.