On June 19 and 26, 2020 I made presentations, titled “The Basics of the Asylum Interview,” at webinars organized by RIF Asylum Support, a New York City-based nonprofit organization. The goal of these meetings was to prepare asylum seekers for their interviews as U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services began reopening on June 4th after closure due to COVID-19. The latter forum was in Spanish.
On May 28, 2020 my election was certified as a representative of the Baruch College Chapter to the Professional Staff Congress (PSC) Delegate Assembly. The PSC is the labor union at the City University of New York that represents faculty and (many) staff. And the Assembly is the union’s principal governing body. I look forward to supporting my colleagues during this difficult period.
On February 26, 2020 my students, in tandem with the Marxe School’s Master of Public Administration Club, co-hosted a presentation by CUNY Census Project Director Colette Labrador. Her talk, “CUNY Census 2020: Project Design and Implementation for Maximum Impact,” focused on how the University planned for the Census, including by recruiting and training students. She also discussed efforts that are underway to ensure the University’s community members are counted. The students appreciated learning about the project’s development, from soup to nuts.
On February 10, 2020 my students, in tandem with the Marxe School’s Higher Education Administration Club, co-hosted a presentation by CUNY Vice Chancellor Richard White. His talk, “Higher Education Administration: A Legal Framework for Managing in US Universities,” focused on the creation of the first-ever Office for Risk, Audit & Compliance at CUNY, as well as management of the key legal issues facing colleges. The students appreciated that the vice chancellor shared a framework for them to apply in the future.
On January 9, 2020 I enjoyed serving as moderator for a roundtable discussion, “Innovation through Immigration,” at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). The speakers were David FitzGerald, who is author of Refuge Beyond Reach, and Don Kerwin (pictured to my left), who is Executive Director of the Center for Migration Studies. This roundtable was hosted by Senior Adjunct Fellow Jim Dougherty (pictured to my right).
On November 16, 2019 I delivered opening remarks at the swearing-in ceremony of the Centro Civico Ecuatoriano de Nueva York, Inc. in Astoria. The officers and board members were sworn in by Judge Scott Dunn of the NYC Criminal Court. The non-profit organization’s new president, Mariana Hernandez (who is my Mom! [pictured]), presented her priorities to those in attendance under the vision statement, “Unidos Somos Mejores” (United We are Better).
On November 14, 2019 my students, in tandem with the Marxe School’s Higher Education Administration (HEA) Club, co-hosted a presentation by Matthew Moore, “Building a 21st Century Film School.” He serves as Academic Program Manager at Brooklyn College’s Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema. Matthew shared an important narrative about the creation of the institution, which is “the only American film school on a working film lot.” The attendees enjoyed learning about the challenges of managing the inception and operation of a new school in higher education.
On November 5, 2019 Marius Mufuta (who serves as Program Officer for Central & West Africa at the National Democratic Institute) delivered a presentation to my students about his prior work with the Jesuit Africa Social Centers Network to negotiate peace among rebel groups and the government in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He related this work to his academic interest in the supportive role that nonprofit organizations and civil societies play in leveraging such agreements. My students enjoyed hearing about his important work, especially as they consider the management of public and nonprofit institutions in a global context.
On October 22, 2019 Dr. Yustina Saleh, who serves as the Senior Vice President of Analytics at Emsi, delivered a presentation to my students about the critical role of data analytics--focusing on labor market analytics--in public and private institutions. She impressed upon my class the importance of organizations using the intelligence from analytics for decision-making, as well as the effective and efficient use of their workforces.
On October 10, 2019 Hoda ElMahdy, who serves as Director of Economic Empowerment at Footsteps, Inc., delivered a presentation to my students on nonprofit management from an international perspective. She described her work in Egypt, as part of the Sawaris Foundation for Social Development, particularly a project to support, among other aims, rural development and job creation. The project, the Egypt Development Marketplace, with funding from The World Bank generated about 200 jobs for young, rural women and men in the country.
On August 24, 2019 I made a presentation, “The U.S. Asylum Process: Understanding the Basics,” at the African Cultural Alliance of North America (ACANA) in Philadelphia. ACANA is a social and legal services agency that supports African and Caribbean immigrants. At this forum, participants focused on the asylum interview, from understanding the responsibilities of asylum officers, including by creating a non-adversarial environment, to researching country conditions information to establish their claims.
On August 12, 2019 I participated in a workshop, "Expert Testimony in Deportation Defense or Asylum Cases," organized by Dr. Robert Smith, who is a member of the Baruch College faculty, at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association in N.Y. In my part of the session, I explained the various opportunities that the asylum interview offered sociologists to provide expert opinions in support of applicants. Fellow instructors included Dr. Cecilia Majívar, who is a faculty member at UCLA, and Sayoni Maitra, who serves as a staff attorney at the UC Hastings Center for Gender & Refugee Studies.
On July 19, 2019 the Secretaría Ejecutiva (Executive Secretary), Sofia Rubio, Esq., of the Comisión Nacional para los Refugiados (National Commission for Refugees) (Co.Na.Re.) provided me an overview of the Argentine asylum system in Buenos Aires. I benefited from the asylum chief’s accessibility, transparency, and expertise.
On June 28, 2019 I received an overview of the important work performed by the Hrvatski Pravni Centar (HPC) (Croatian Law Center) in the Croatian asylum system. This information was provided by the HPC President, Dr. Goranka Lalic Novak, when I visited her headquarters in Zagreb.