October 7 (Thursday) 12:15 - 13:15 (ET)
By the end of 2020, more than 80 million people worldwide were forcibly displaced. In this panel discussion, we hear from diverse group of practitioners who have experience working with refugees and asylees.
Our panel includes:
The aim of the panel discussion is to gain insight into the panelists' work, their careers in the civic sector, the main challenges they face, and how to bridge the gap between research and practice. We will get insight on common misconceptions about refugees and asylees, what the panelists think researchers could learn from their experience, and what changes the panel think could most improve the lives of refugees and asylees.
Yeukai Chideya is a junior researcher at the Institute of Life Course Health Research (Stellenbosch University). She is also the centre manager at the institute’s Masiphuhlisane Research Centre. Between 2011-2020, Yeukai worked at senior management level at the Trauma Centre for Survivors of Torture and Violence. Part of her responsibilities included providing psychosocial support to refugees and asylum seekers. Yeukai is a University of Cape Town graduate and holds a Masters’ Degree in Social Sciences in Clinical Social Work Practice.
Richard Thickpenny is Chief Innovation Officer at ACH, where he leads the organisation’s research and consultancy work alongside the #rethinkingrefugee agenda. He has been working with refugee communities since 2004, leading the development of innovative integration services that create opportunities for individuals to lead independent and ambitious lives in the UK. Richard leads ACH’s campaign to create systemic change to redefine, recenter and rebuild the integration process to end the cycle of poverty for newly arrived communities.
Paulina Vera, Esq. supervises GW Law Immigration Clinic students and provides legal representation to asylum-seekers and respondents facing deportation in Immigration Court. She is a Professorial Lecturer In Law and has previously taught Immigration Law I. Ms. Vera previously served as the only Immigration Staff Attorney at the Maryland-based non-profit, CASA. In 2015, she graduated from the George Washington University Law School. During law school, she was a student-attorney at the Immigration Clinic. Her passion project is managing an online community called Hermanas In The Law, where she features Latinas thinking about law school, Latina law students, and Latina lawyers. Ms. Vera is originally from Tucson, AZ and is the proud daughter of two immigrants.
Alicia Wrenn joined HIAS as the Senior Director for Resettlement and Integration in 2019. HIAS for more than 100 years has been helping refugees escape persecution and resettle in safety; reuniting families who have been separated; and helping them build new lives in safety and freedom. Alicia oversees all programming for refugees and asylees from their arrival to the long-term integration work encompassing employment, intensive case management for extended medical and mental health needs, and community sponsorship.