As I have watched the humanitarian crisis/human tragedy of refugees and migrants unfold in Europe over the last few weeks, I know that I am not the only one who needs a better understanding of the situation.
I have known, been friends with and mentored refugees in the past. I have visited and lived in countries and areas where refugees go to seek succor. For many years, I served as the President (a volunteer position) of the non-profit African Community Center in Grand Rapids, MI – an organization that focusses on assisting refugees primarily from Africa. As I watch and listen to the news, here are a few questions that come to mind: what differentiates a “refugee” from a “migrant”?, how did we get to this point?, what happens if these refugees find no refuge?, should the European countries be obligated to accept these refugees?, where is that critical breaking point?, what role should the United Nations play here?. These and many more questions come to mind.
We are seeking individuals who have some opinions, thoughts, experiences, or knowledge about any of this to join us in a panel discussion in the near future. You do not have to be an expert, and we would appreciate a diversity of opinions. Faculty/staff, students and community members are encouraged to respond to my email or blog and they will be contacted with possible dates and times.
This is a part of our Current Affairs and Diversity Series, as we at MCCC continue to illuminate, edify and educate our community.