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2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Migration and Refugee Services (MRS) of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  Although the Catholic Church has welcomed newcomers since the very founding of our nation, since 1965 alone MRS has assisted over 1 million refugees to begin new lives in the United States through its nationwide network of affiliated partner agencies.  In more recent years, MRS has greatly expanded its service network to respond to the plight of thousands of unaccompanied children and victims of human trafficking.  MRS has also been a leading advocate for fair and just policies, both nationally and internationally, that serve to protect and uphold the fundamental rights of migrants, immigrants, refugees, human trafficking victims, and other vulnerable persons on the move.  

Please join  us on November 19th, to help Migration and Refugee Services celebrate our 50th Anniversary!
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Thursday, November 19 • 9:30am - 11:00am
The MRS Refugee Program at 50

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This panel will begin with a retrospective on MRS’ history of resettling refugees followed by analysis of contemporary and future issues facing refugees and the U.S. resettlement program. As refugee flows have shifted and new crises emerge, MRS and its national resettlement network have responded to the changing needs of the refugee arriving to the United States. This panel will explore how MRS resettlement affiliates have addressed issues locally and mobilized Catholic parish support to assist newly arriving refugees. Furthermore, the panel will touch upon current and anticipated issues facing our country as it prepares to aid the highest number of refugees in decades, due in part to the Syrian crisis.

avatar for Aden Batar

Aden Batar

Immigration and Refugee Resettlement Director, Catholic Community Services of Salt Lake City
Aden Batar currently serves as the Immigration and Refugee Resettlement Director for Catholic Community Services of Salt Lake City, UT.  As a Somali refugee himself, Batar has first hand experience with fleeing a country due to civil war and then going through the refugee resettlement process in Utah.  Batar grew up in Somalia and then graduated with his law degree from Somali National University. In 1990, shortly after Batar... Read More →
avatar for Beth Ferris

Beth Ferris

Senior Fellow, Georgetown University
Beth Ferris is currently a Senior Fellow at Georgetown University.  Formerly she served as the co-director of the Brookings Project on Internal Displacement.  At Brookings she focused on the international community’s response to humanitarian crises, with a particular emphasis on the human rights of internally displaced persons. Her most recent book is “The Politics of Protection: The Limits of Humanitarian... Read More →
avatar for Simon Henshaw

Simon Henshaw

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration
Mr. Henshaw is a career officer in the U.S. Foreign Service, currently serving as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration. His previous assignment was Director of Andean Affairs in the State Department’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs. From 2008 to 2011, he was the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Mr. Henshaw joined the State Department in 1985... Read More →
avatar for Fr. Rick Ryscavage, SJ

Fr. Rick Ryscavage, SJ

Director, Center for Faith and Public Life, Fairfield University
Father Ryscavage is a Professor of Sociology and International Studies Director at Fairfield University and Director of The Center for Faith and Public Life, which addresses public issues where politics and religion intersect. Father Ryscavage served as national director of the Jesuit Refugee Service/USA. He set up the first program to provide religious coordinators for immigration detention facilities of the US Department of Homeland Security... Read More →

Thursday November 19, 2015 9:30am - 11:00am
Grand Ballroom North Central