June 20th is World Refugee Day. This year, Daemen College was among many organizations around the world that participated in the celebration of this important occasion. With funding from the New York Council for the Humanities and sponsored by the faculty of the History & Political Science Department, various local refugees (including some History & Political Science students) shared their sad stories and experiences about their displaced countries to their new found country of the United States. It was a very good and successful event with over 68 people in attendance; including faculty, students and staff from Daemen; people from community organizations and the community-at-large; students from Saudi Arabia; a representative from the Office of the Mayor of Buffalo; and collaboration with BIREC (Buffalo Immigrant and Refugee Coalition).
Among the speakers were two student speakers: Saladi Shebule, a native of Kenya and a 2013 Daemen graduate (Political Science major); and Maryann Jamale, also from Kenya, who just finished her first year at Daemen. Saladi and Maryann talked about the experience of being refugees and how that had shaped their experiences as American college students.
We plan to undertake another refugee event this coming academic year, focusing mostly on refugees from the Middle East, Asia, and Southeast Asia; with a keynote speaker from the University of Toronto. These programs are all part of our new Refugee Studies program initiated by the faculty of the History & Political Science Department. For more information about the Refugee Studies program, please contact Dr. Joseph Sankoh, Associate Professor of Political Science, at firstname.lastname@example.org.