Article by Karolina Vakula, the Center of Dialogue and Conflict Transformation Intern
At an applied research and awareness-raising event on migration issues, The Center of Dialogue and Conflict Transformation invited an American guest from the University of Notre Dame in Lebanon, Dr. Eugene Sensenig to share his “Views of Migration Around the World” at a hybrid symposium event on March 23rd. Dr. Sensenig is a professor in International Relations, Gender, and Global Mobility studies and has lived in Lebanon for many years. Dealing with the fallout of the war in Ukraine, comparisons were made to another crisis in Europe, the Middle East, and North America. Karolina Vakula, one of the IRD center interns, learned from his presentation “that the social welfare system makes integration of refugees hard”. Sharing examples out of Poland and Lebanon, Dr. Sensenig talked about periods of mass forced migration which include post World War I and World War II, the division of British Imperial India, Post-colonial wars in Sub-Saharan Africa, and the end of the Empire; along with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the multiple wars in Palestine/Israel, Lebanon, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Syria, Myanmar, and now in Ukraine. Students heard that what is important about migration is to understand that one is not allowed to send a refugee home if there is a threat of them being treated wrongfully against standard human rights practices. This principle is called non-refoulment. According to Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone has the right to seek and enjoy life in other countries as they seek asylum from persecution. The seminar was highly informative and interesting. Another LCC student, Alina Harbovska who attended the seminar shared that “The event was fascinating. It was interesting to listen to the ideas presented by a person who comes from a different cultural background. The speaker talked a lot about the WW2 and enriched my knowledge on this topic”. The highlight of the symposium for senior LCC student Jessi Diblasi was a quote: “Spirituality is the way we bring ourselves together not only globally but also in torn societies”. He explains that “amidst various perspective regarding different causes of migration, one of our best bets in coming together seems to be sharing the most intimate aspects of our belief system, the spirituality of it.” Happening the week after the Stories Shaping Peace Conference at LCC, this event explored research while raising awareness of the broader migrant issues from various views. This event was part of the Center’s work with researchers in the areas of conflict and peace studies in order to stimulate dialogue on critical issues that impact our world along with promoting actions in students who pursue justice, increase understanding and engagement in human rights issues with the goal of empowering communities everywhere to live generously.
A recording of the event is available at Symposium on Migration: "Views of Migration Around the World"