The Newcomers Among Us: Sharing Experiences and Learning Lessons

On October 27, 2004, the Center and the Network for Newcomer Advocacy (NENA), in collaboration with the Framingham State College Center for Global Education, hosted the third seminar in its series entitled The Newcomers Among Us: Sharing Experiences and Learning Lessons. This day-long seminar was held on the campus of Brandeis University and brought together professionals and members of the Brandeis community to discuss issues surrounding immigration in Waltham, Newton, Lincoln, and other near suburbs of Boston.

The seminar hosted 15 participants, from a wide range of professions and backgrounds, whose work directly or indirectly brings them into contact with immigrants and refugees. Social workers and public school teachers comprised the majority of the group. Brandeis students involved in English language instruction for employees of Brandeis dining services also attended the seminar. Participants contributed to a number of lively discussions, inspired by the preparatory reading of selected poetry, short stories, and a play. Some of the subjects raised were the interpretive primacy of one’s native language, stereotyping of immigrants and refugees, cultural differences and expectations concerning child-raising, the complex roles played by those whose work is to assist or treat victims of human rights abuses, and the right of refugees to move out of this special status and normalize their lives.

The Newcomers seminar series will continue into 2005, moving around the Boston area to serve varied populations. If you are interested in attending a future seminar, please contact Leigh Swigart, associate director of the Center at swigart@brandeis.edu.