This semester, the The Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life and The Office of the President hosted a series of three panels discussing the current refugee crisis in Syria, its development, and the political responses to it. The first panel, “The Development of the Crisis and the Response in Europe“ centered the expansion of the crisis and Europe’s reactions. The second panel, “The Refugee Experience” continued the conversation, transitioning specifically into the experience of the refugees and their journeys with migration. The third panel, “The U.S. Response, Locally and Nationally“ concluded the series on a somewhat more hopeful note by discussing the responses to the refugee on a national level in the U.S., and on a local level here in Middletown. The speakers elaborated on the various ways to get involved and support those fleeing their native countries for survival.
Throughout the series, the panels featured a large range of scholars, professors, and ambassadors such as Robert Ford, the former U.S. ambassador to Syria; Steve Poellot, a legal director at the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP); Baselieus Zeno, a PhD candidate in political science at the University of Massachusetts–Amherst and a Syrian refugee, and even a personal video message from U.S. Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut.
Overall, the series aimed to educate those present on the ongoing refugee crisis and bring awareness to the way it’s been perceived and reacted to internationally, nationally, and even locally. Middletown is currently awaiting two families who will resettle here. Through the Wesleyan Refugee Project, you can easily get involved and help refugees through simple actions such as driving to pick them up at the airport or helping to clean up and arrange the home where they will be staying. For more information on the Refugee Project, please contact Casey Smith, at firstname.lastname@example.org.