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Global Displacement and Mental Health

In November 2019, Vassar hosted an international conference, “Global Displacement & Mental Health," with the goal of collectively re-thinking mental health education and training for undergraduate and graduate students. More than 90 individuals participated, including many Vassar students, and discussed the ways that liberal arts and humanities can and should play in preparing mental health workers, as well as the role of digital learning in building new alliances. This scholarly conference was organized by the Consortium on Forced Migration, Displacement, and Education (CFMDE), under the leadership of Consortium members Vassar College and The New School with generous funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, and the University Alliance for Refugees and At-Risk Migrants.

Migration and Displacement Studies Research Workshop

In April 2022, Vassar College hosted a day-long Research Workshop for students at CFMDE colleges to share and discuss their research related to Migration and Displacement Studies. The workshop included a keynote panel of Vassar faculty and Poughkeepsie-area activists, senior thesis and capstone project presentations by students at Vassar, Bennington, and Bard colleges, and a student "break-in" session in which students discussed their experiences conducting research, the challenges they faced while doing so, and their future goals for collaborative work. Featured research included: "There are the Ones that Migrate and There are the Ones that Flee: The Case of Honduran Migrants and Refugees," by Meylin Colindres (Bard ’22); "’The Spice Paradise’: Memories of Departure, Estrangement, and return with Abdulrazak Gurnah," by Sophia Jahadhmy (Vassar ’22); "Membership Theory and its Application in the Maritime Interdiction of Refugees," by Valeria Munoz Gonzales (Vassar ’22); "Networks of Learning and the Selective Bibliography of Forced Migration: A Senior Capstone Project," by Samantha Cavagnolo (Vassar ’22); "A Toolkit for Migration & Displacement Studies Community-Engaged Work" by Sofia Rao (Vassar ’22); and "Institutional, Symbolic, and Individual Factors That Impact An International Student’s Sense of Belonging at an American College" by Hafsa Zulfiquar (Bennington ’22).

New York State Communications Association Conference

In October 2020, seven Vassar students (Samantha Cavagnolo ’22, Ananya Chaudhuri ’23, Kaiya John ’23, Ava McElhone Yates ’21, Naima Nader ’23, Haru Sugishita ’23, and Christopher Unruh ’22) joined local Hudson Valley activists Valerie Carlisle (Grannies Respond), Mariel Fiori (La Voz), and René Mejía Jr. (For the Many) for an interactive roundtable discussion titled "Toward a New Lexicon of Forced Migration: A Dialogue Between Vassar College Students and Poughkeepsie-Area Activists." The roundtable discussed what is missing, complex, and unexamined within the existing discourse and lexicon of forced migration. They also explored more flexible systems of belonging that provide justice for migrants and marginalized communities worldwide, and how migrant communities in Poughkeepsie, NY, are working toward these models.

World Congress on Public Health

In October 2020, José G. Perillán (Vassar College), Adam Brown (The New School), Nicole Shea (Columbia University, Council for European Studies), Kyle Farmbry (Rutgers University, University Alliance for Refugees and At-Risk Migrants), and Anne Jachmann (University of Bern, Switzerland) presented on a panel about mental health, displacement, and the liberal arts at the 16th World Congress on Public Health, the theme of which was Public Health for the Future of Humanity: Analysis, Advocacy and Action.

Student World Affairs Conference

In March 2020, Vassar student Ananya Chaudhuri ’23 was selected to present her paper, "Politicalization of the Refugee," at the 7th Annual Student World Affairs Conference (SWAC) hosted at Marist College. This paper, which stemmed from Chaudhuri’s research conducted in the Lexicon of Forced Migration course at Vassar, explored the politicalization of refugees and its impact on climate migration.

Ananya Chaudhuri ’23 discusses her experience conducting research in Migration and Displacement Studies.

Global Citizenship for Campus, Community, and Careers: Crossing Borders and Boundaries

In October 2019, Maria Höhn, Brittany Murray, and Matthew Brill-Carlat organized a roundtable for the Global Citizenship for Campus, Community, and Careers: Crossing Borders and Boundaries conference of the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U), held in San Antonio. Their roundtable discussion was titled "Serving Students Affected by Forced Migration: New Americans Summer Program at Vassar College." Learn more about the New Americans Summer Program.

University Alliance of Refugees and At-Risk Migrants & No Lost Generation Student Conference

In September 2019, Matthew Brill-Carlat (Vassar ’19 and former Coordinator for Research and Pedagogy for the Consortium on Forced Migration, Displacement, and Education) and Vassar students Ava McElhone Yates ’21 and Margaret Edgecombe ’22 presented about their work with the Consortium on Forced Migration, Displacement, and Education at the Student Conference hosted by the University Alliance of Refugees and At-Risk Migrants and No Lost Generation at George Washington University. The conference prompted student activists and campus advocacy organizations from across the country to discuss how to collaborate and support refugee students on university campuses.

Conference of Europeanists

In June 2019, Maria Höhn (Vassar College), Kyle Farmbry (Rutgers University, University Alliance of Refugees and At-Risk Migrants), and Nicole Shea (Columbia University, Council for European Studies) organized two roundtable panels at the 26th Annual Conference of Europeanists, organized by the Council for European Studies and hosted by Universidad Carlos III de Madrid in Madrid, Spain, with the theme of Sovereignties in Contention: Nations, Regions and Citizens in Europe. The two panels were titled Higher Education and Global Migration and Refugee Education-Asymmetrical Collaborations. Maria Höhn, Brittany Murray, Matthew Brill-Carlat ’19, and Dr. Nicole Shea represented the Consortium on Forced Migration, Displacement, and Education.

Consortium on Forced Migration, Displacement, and Education Teaching Lab

In May 2019, Vassar College hosted the first annual Teaching Lab of the Consortium on Forced Migration, Displacement, and Education. This Teaching Lab brought together faculty and students across all Consortium campuses to discuss shared curriculum (including the Lexicon of Forced Migration course ("Lexicon of Forced Migration course" hyperlink to "Course of Study" page)), student research, community-engaged learning models, and ongoing collaborative projects. Additional activists, academics, and practitioners from the local community and farther afield including Diya Abdo (Every Campus a Refuge; Guilford College), Julie Casper (Carey Institute), Evelyn Garzetta (Grace Immigrant Outreach), and Tim Doherty (Refugee Welcome Center, Albany), also attended. The Lab also included a gallery opening of photos of the Markazi refugee camp in Djibouti by photographer Nadia Benchallal and text by anthropologist Nathalie Peutz. See more about the gallery opening.