May
30
Thu
Lowell’s 16th Annual Refugee and Immigrant Conference @ Middlesex Community College
May 30 @ 8:30 am – 3:00 pm

This year’s theme: “Global Trends and Local Integration”

Keynote Speaker:

Saida Abdi, LICSW, MSW., M.A., is the Director of Community Relations at the Boston Children’s Hospital Refugee Trauma and Resilience Center, a clinical social worker, and expert in refugee trauma and resilience. She holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from Boston University and another Master’s degree in Communications from Carleton University and is currently pursuing her PhD at Boston University. She is a native of Somalia and a former refugee herself. Ms. Abdi has worked for more than 20 years in the area of refugee youth and families, developing school-based programs to support adjustment of refugee youth in resettlement and community-based research and intervention. For the past 8 years, she has worked at the Boston Children’s Hospital Refugee Trauma and Resilience Center as a part of SAMHSA funded project to develop and implement refugee mental health interventions. She has organized trainings on the issue of promoting resilience and reducing risk behaviors among refugee youth for educators, policy-makers, clinicians and community leaders. She is trained in Trauma System’s Therapy and is an expert in building culturally responsive interventions.

Academic Panel on Migration:

Robert Forrant: Dr. Forrant is a professor in the History Department at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, teaching courses on global labor issues, labor history, immigration, and international development. He is director of the department’s graduate program. He has been a consultant to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, the International Labour Organization, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the International Metalworkers Federation, and several trade unions. His research activities have been funded by, among others: the International Metalworkers Federation, the International Labour Organization, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Russell Sage Foundation, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the cities of Lowell and Leominister, Massachusetts. Professor Forrant is the editor of three volumes on sustainable regional development, the author of numerous published articles and reports and a forthcoming book on industrial development and decline in the Connecticut River Valley and New England.

Yvonne Ruiz: Dr. Yvonne Ruiz has a Ph.D in Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology (2002) and a Master of Social Work (1994) both from Boston College. She graduated from New York University with an MA in media studies in 1981 and Syracuse University with a BA in English literature in 1979. She holds licensure as a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW). She has been in the Boston area since 1991 and has clinical experience in medical social work, community mental health, and behavioral health.

Breakout Sessions (participants may select two to attend at check-in):

Breakout #1: Presenter TBA, Gateway for Growth – Lowell’s Immigrant Integration Process

Breakout #2: Presenter TBA, MIRA on Policy and Advocacy

Breakout #3: Barbara Dunsford, Meditation/Mindfulness

Breakout #4: TBA, International Institute of New England’s Resettlement and Integration

Breakout #5: Economics and Entrepreneurship

Frankie Descoteaux, CTI Merrimack Valley Small Business Center
TBA, Chamber of Commerce and Workforce Development
Lianna Sachiyo Kushi, E for All
Bora Chamroeun and Ani Vong, Business Owners

In lieu of a registration fee, please bring a Target, Walmart, Market Basket gift card or monetary donation in any denomination to help support refugee families.

Refreshments and lunch provided. Parking available at Lower Locks Garage on 90 Warren St., Lowell, MA 01852

Organized by: Lowell Public Schools, Middlesex Community College, International Institute of New England, Lowell Alliance, Lowell YWCA, Saydanar Community Development Center, The African Community Center of Lowell, Lowell Community Health Center, The New American Center, The Office of Congresswoman Lori Trahan, and Lowell Police Department