Davis & Elkins College will host a panel discussion titled “Refuge for All? Reflections from Recent American Arrivals” at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 24 in Myles Center for the Arts. Sponsored by the Morrison-Novakovic Center for Faith and Public Policy, the event will focus on the complex realities and experiences of refugees and asylum-seekers.
“I am so excited to welcome Hager and Nasser back to D&E. Their stories are humbling, heartbreaking, complex and inspiring,” said Dr. Bryan Wagoner, associate professor of religious studies and philosophy and Director, Morrison-Novakovic Center for Faith and Public Policy. “Their passion and optimism reflect the very best of America today and tomorrow. I hope the community will join us and learn from their wisdom.”
The panel will be made up of Nasser Alsaadun, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Iraq, and Hager Ahmad, a naturalized U.S. citizen who immigrated from The Sudan.
Alsaadun fled with his family to Syria in 2006 after the militia kidnapped and assassinated his father. He then moved to Lebanon and was resettled to the United States in 2008 as a refugee. An instructor of Arabic at James Madison University and Bridgewater College, he founded American Refugee Association (ARA) to assist all refugees and immigrants in their first year of being in the United States. In 2015, Nasser and other refugee leaders established New American Consultative Council, a coalition that includes all refugee and immigrant communities of Harrisonburg.
Ahmed, a wife and a mother of four children, was resettled to Harrisonburg, Virginia, in 2001. The founder and president of the Sudanese Community Association in Harrisonburg, Ahmed volunteers with several local organizations that support refugees including New Bridges, Many Voices and the Welcoming Harrisonburg Council. She also assists the local Church World Service as an interpreter for Arabic-speaking refugees, and is a frequent speaker at churches, community forums and colleges on behalf of the Sudanese and refugee communities. In addition, she teaches the Linking Communities program partnering local individuals, families or groups with newly arriving refugee families.
The panel is the third in a series sponsored by the Morrison-Novakovic Center for Faith and Public Policy this spring that focus on themes of democracy and faith. All are free and open to the public.
For additional information, email Wagoner at email@example.com.