BYU Law and Leadership Conference
TSOS presented at BYU 's Law and Leadership Peacebuilding Conference on March 25, 2022. It was an honor to participate with scholars from Columbia, Tufts, BYU, the University of Utah and elsewhere. Discussions focused on how to find consensus and build peace in a time of division, and while the presenters spoke on very different topics, each came back to the same themes.
TSOS Board member Sara Sievers (who had helped open the U.S. embassy in Ukraine in the 1990s), and Executive Director Kristen Smith Dayley spoke on refugee policy, global events and U.S. immigration law. Drawing upon Trevor Noah's observation that "anyone could become a refugee. It's something that happens to you. It is not who you are," we talked about humanizing the global refugee crisis and finding common ground by focusing on individual experiences and stories. This approach was echoed by other presenters on a variety of topics, each of whom stressed the importance of getting comfortable with complexity and ambiguity, acting with respect and love for the individual.
We loved being included in these important conversations and spending time with our fantastic BYU Law School TSOS team members, each of whom are advancing our work and impact.
The Emerald Project is a Utah-based organization that carefully designs dialogues to engage with non-Muslims to make Salt Lake Valley a more welcoming home to Muslims. As many of our refugee friends belong to the Muslim faith, we applaud opportunities that foster understanding and were pleased to support The Emerald Project’s 3rd annual “Slam the Islamophobia” event on February 15th.
Refugees often risk their lives crossing deserts, jungles, and oceans all in the search for shelter, freedom, or happiness. Yet, even once they’ve reached physical safety, mental mountains emerge that make daily life an uphill climb. At the November 2022 conference for the Utah Chapter of the Society for Public Health Education (USOPHE), presenters Shurooq Al Jewari and Sasha Sloan discussed mental health and inclusion, focusing on immigrants and refugees.
On January 25th, TSOS was invited to present to a group of approximately 50 faculty and administrative leaders at Utah Valley University (UVU). Specifically, they wanted to understand how forcibly displaced individuals might arrive at UVU, what types of burdens they might be carrying, and how the university could better support the unique needs of these students. UVU is the largest university in the state of Utah, and its leadership was anxious to discuss ways to create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for UVU’s over 200 refugee students.