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Refugee discussion concludes lecture series

October 30, 2009

What defines a refugee and how Arizona plays a role in the resettlement process will conclude the ASU School of Letters and Sciences Fall 2009 Humanities Lecture Series.

Joanne Morales will present “Refugee Situations in Arizona, Burma, Iraq and Bhutan” at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 12 at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, 555 N. Central Ave., Room 125, Phoenix.

The lecture series is open to the general public and is free.

“The ASU School of Letters and Sciences Fall 2009 Humanities Lecture series is a public-service event and allows students and the public to become aware of current events and informed discussion on important issues,” said Mirna Lattouf, coordinator of the lecture series. “In this spirit, we offer a timely topic on the status of refugees in the USA, and specifically, Arizona. Public awareness of the rights and needs of this population, listening to their individual stories, and appreciating the work of the resettlement groups allow us to recognize their humanity.”

The School of Letters and Sciences provides students across ASU with the knowledge and skills to comprehend and effectively engage the changing world of the 21st century at local, national and global levels. Theory, creativity and applied learning are integrated as students build entrepreneurial opportunities both inside the university and in their communities.

Morales, director of Refugee Programs for Catholic Charities, will discuss how refugee resettlement in Arizona and the United States operates under a public-private partnership and how they work together to address the tragedy of “statelessness.”

“This interactive session will provide a basic overview of some of the major support systems for refugees, beginning with pre-arrival planning, programs and funding streams,” Morales said. “The presentation will help participants better understand who does what in local refugee resettlement, and how refugees find jobs, homes and medical coverage.”

Each year, more than 800 refugees are helped through Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Program in Arizona. A refugee is defined as a person who is unable to return to his or her country of origin because of a well-founded fear of persecution, based on their race, religion, membership in a particular social group or political opinion.