Northwestern Events Calendar


WEBINAR SERIES: What the Covid-19 Pandemic Means for Refugees-Chicago Responds

When: Wednesday, April 15, 2020
11:15 AM - 12:15 PM CT

Where: Online

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Cost: FREE

Contact: Cindy Pingry   (847) 467-1933


Category: Global & Civic Engagement, Academic, Lectures & Meetings


This webinar series, hosted by the Colloquium on Refugees, Migrants and Statelessness (a working group of the Center for International and Area Studies at Northwestern University), aims to provide frontline information about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on refugees around the world.

This week's webinar will focus on how Chicago’s refugee community has been impacted by COVID-19, and the larger impact the pandemic will have on the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP). We will hear from three members of Chicago's Golden Door Coalition:

Fred Tsao is the Senior Policy Counsel at the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. In this position, he provides technical support, trainings, and presentations on immigration-related topics to service providers, immigrant community organizations, and others who work with immigrants. He also provides updates and analysis of changes in immigration policies and procedures to ICIRR members and allies, and assists with the coalition's legislative advocacy efforts. A self-described “recovering attorney,” Fred practiced law at the Rockford office of Prairie State Legal Services, where he worked after receiving his law degree from the University of Michigan. He has also worked with the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, the Chicago Anti-Hunger Federation, and the Missouri Public Interest Research Group. A native of Chicago, Fred is the son of immigrants from China, and has had a lifelong concern with immigration issues.

Suzanne Akhras Sahloul is the founder and Executive Director of the Syrian Community Network (SCN). Under her leadership, SCN has grown exponentially to become a strong voice for refugee and immigrant rights and a national community-based resettlement organization working in partnership with local and national refugee, immigrant rights, and faith-based organizations. She has led several community-based foundations and raised funds for many causes in Chicago and her homeland. Suzanne is passionate about community service, advocacy and human rights. She received UNICEF Chicago Humanitarian award and Illinois Coalition for Immigrants and Refugee Rights annual humanitarian award. She is educated in Nonprofit management and leadership from Lewis University and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Suzanne has also served as a PTA president and a board member at Universal Islamic School. She is married with three children.

Jims Porter is the Manager of Communications & Advocacy at RefugeeOne, Chicago’s largest refugee resettlement agency. In this role, Jims works to raise awareness about refugees through community education, media engagement, and advocacy at the local, state, and federal levels. He works closely with local and national partners to mobilize communities and build coalitions, including the Golden Door Coalition. Jims is the Board Chair of the Queer Asylum Network, a new Chicago nonprofit working to support LGBTQ asylum seekers. His interest in immigrant rights began while volunteering as a Spanish interpreter for a career development center in college. Prior to moving to Chicago in 2016, Jims worked in strategic philanthropy and non-profit development in Louisville, Kentucky. He holds degrees in journalism and political science from Indiana University.

Hear from these advocates and services providers working on the ground, not only to meet the new and immediate needs of refugees, but to advocate for aid and policies that are fully inclusive of refugees and immigrants — especially the most vulnerable. Learn how you can engage in meaningful advocacy to support refugees — both those who are already here, as well as those still hoping to find safety in the U.S.

The Colloquium on Refugees, Migrants and Statelessness brings together an interdisciplinary group of scholars, practitioners and policy makers in order to contribute to the public understanding of movement across national borders, with the aim of reducing the risk of harm, confronting social disfranchisement, and changing the international community’s response to refugee and migrant needs.

Link for Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID: 603 397 580

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