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Academy Observes the 107th World Day of Migrants and Refugees

The John J. Brunetti Human Trafficking Academy of the LL.M./J.S.D. Program in Intercultural Human Rights was proud to join the Holy Father for the 107th World Day of Migrants and Refugees.  This year’s theme, Towards an Ever Wider “We”, calls all of us to commit ourselves to restore our human family.  The Academy in cooperation with U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Migration and Refugee Services, U.S. Catholic Sisters against Human Trafficking, and STU Campus Ministry offered an event series in honor of this theme as it relates to people on the move and survivors of human trafficking.

On September 24, 2021, a live webinar An Ever Wider “We” was presented beginning with an invocation by Sister Evelyn Maria Montes de Oca, Associate Director of Campus Ministry at St. Thomas University, and a reflection on His Holiness Pope Francis’ teaching on “A Communion in Diversity,” led by Prof. Dr. Roza Pati, Founding Director of the Academy.  Next, M. Kazam Hashimi, Afghan SIV in the U.S. and Mentee and Interpreter with Hello Neighbor, and Maryem Reyes, Venezuelan asylee in the U.S. and LL.M. Candidate of the Intercultural Human Rights Program at St. Thomas University, provided testimonies on “Being Part of ‘We’ in the United States.”

This event also consisted of a panel on “Case Study Afghanistan,” moderated by Jennifer Reyes Lay, Executive Director of U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking, and featuring distinguished panelists Sloane Davidson, Founder and CEO of Hello Neighbor, and Professor Michael Vastine, Professor of Law and Director of the Immigration Clinic at St. Thomas University College of Law, who contextualized the discussion through the present situation of Afghan migrants and refugees.  Lisa Lungren, National Outreach Coordinator for Immigration and Anti-Trafficking of the Migration and Refugee Services of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, shared resources on how participants could support Afghan allies, refugees, and other new neighbors in their community.

The event series concluded with a commemorative mass celebrated by Vice President of St. Thomas University, Father Rafael Capó, followed by a reception.

“Migration does not just improve the life of migrants, but it has an enormous positive impact in the life of the host nations. It helps improve the human capital development and strengthen brotherhood among cultures and peoples. We strongly believe that the destiny of our human family is all linked together. We are interconnected: ‘we stand, or we fall together,’ as Pope Francis says while he also encourages us to ‘transform borders into privileged places of encounter,’” said Dr. Roza Pati who also serves as a Member of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development at the Vatican.

Access our Learning Page and share various resources to encourage an ever wider “we” in your local and global communities here.