Professor of Economics Erol Balkan, Associate Professor of German & Russian Languages and Literatures John Bartle, and Britt Hysell, director of the English for Speakers of Other Languages Program, gave a joint presentation at a conference at Vassar College on Feb. 25. 

The conference on “Forced Migration, Displacement, and the Question of Social Justice” was sponsored by the Alliance to Advance Liberal Arts Colleges (AALAC). 

In the presentation, “Refugees Welcome Here: Working with Resettled Communities in Our Teaching and Research,” Balkan discussed the ongoing research in Utica and Turkey with a focus on the education and employment of refugees. 

Bartle screened one of the films from the Digital Humanities Initiative “Refugee Project” and talked about various service learning opportunities for Hamilton students in Utica. 

Hysell discussed her SHINE classes, where students learn both how to tutor refugees and how to integrate the social injustices they see into their academic work and life experience.

The city of Poughkeepsie’s recent decision to accept dozens of refugees provided part of the stimulus for the conference. Though recent executive orders signed by President Donald Trump have stopped resettlement in the Hudson Valley before it could get off the ground, the group there hopes to accept refugees in the future.

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