Honors Seminars Examine Conflict & Loss

Ali Madabber (middle, in blue shirt) recently visited Roula Jneid’s Honors seminar, Refugee Communities in Syracuse.

Refugee Communities in Syracuse
Ali Modabber, Immigration Legal Services Manager, Refugee Resettlement Services, was the guest speaker in Professor Roula Jneid’s course, Refugee Communities in Syracuse. The discussion focused on current policy proposals to help protected parolees gain citizenship. After Afghanistan fell to the Taliban, a fundamentalist religious group, the Afghans face forms of human rights violations. While the US has been assisting the Afghans through evacuating, providing special immigrant visas, other forms of relief, authorization to work, and access to public assistance, most evacuees who are humanitarian parolees still need a pathway to permanent residency. The primary option is seeking asylum, a complex and unguaranteed process. Mr. Modabber advocated that Congress pass the Afghan Adjustment Act to help parolees secure permanent residency and the opportunity to rebuild their lives and integrate into the United States.

Being Conflict, Being Peace
Students in the seminar “Being Conflict, Being Peace”, led by Honors advisor Ali Cridge, have shared conversations about the urgency of “empathy in a fractured world” and the fatally flawed “perils of indifference.” During war, Elie Weisel cautioned, indifference denies the victims (the political prisoner, the hungry children, the homeless refugees) their humanity, “and in denying them their humanity, we betray our own.” How then do we acknowledge all humanity, when the suffering exists outside of our daily physical existence, or when the victim and the aggressor live side by side? The class welcomed guest speakers Neal Powless (University Ombuds) and Sue Parker (Educator, Cornell Cooperative Extension) to share their expertise on healing through restorative practices from active listening to forest bathing. Saboor Sakhizada and Zorealava Osiv will visit later in the semester to share their personal experiences as refugees from Afghanistan and Ukraine. A student in the class, Grace Katz ’25, interviewed Julie Niederhoff, associate professor of supply chain management, for her feature story for the Daily Orange, “SU Professor with adopted Ukrainian children aids evaluation, donation efforts.” Read the feature story here.

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