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Working Group on Refugees, Europe, and Service Learning

Now in its fifth year, WRESL – the Working Group on Refugees, Europe, and Service Learning – provides an informal space in which some of the Center for European Studies’ undergraduates, Excel EURO-TAM students, can discuss the circumstances of refugees in Europe and the US. This group actively seeks out opportunities to learn about the immigrant experience on both sides of the Atlantic and to engage with those involved in integration processes. Thus far, we have focused attention on the efforts of refugee assistance programs (Church World Service), community partnerships (Transplanting Traditions), student volunteer tutors, as well as international photographers and film makers. As the name suggests, we are interested in wrestling with the challenges and successes of migrants and the ways in which non-migrants contribute to the immigrant experience.

WRESL is currently planning our next event! Two TransAtlantic Masters (TAM) graduates, one in the US and one in Greece, will talk about their work with immigrants and refugees. Please RSVP to tam@unc.edu to receive the zoom link for this event on Saturday, February 6th at noon ET.

Mario Martinez ’16 works for Centro Legal de la Raza.
As a TAM student, Mario studied overseas in Ankara and Berlin. He interned with UNDP in Istanbul in 2015 and received DAAD funding during his year of study in Germany. Mario earned the joint METU-HU degree in German-Turkish Studies.
Now he is the Post-Release Accompaniment Program (PRAP) Coordinator at Centro Legal de la Raza assisting bond and parole-eligible community members secure their release from immigration detention. Mario has helped coordinate regional deportation defense programs since 2017 at immigration courts, detention facilities, and rapid response networks. He has developed data-driven strategies to enhance these programs and quickly respond to sudden policy shifts or emergencies. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these strategies were utilized to identify medically vulnerable individuals to file urgent humanitarian parole requests, support litigation, and inform statewide policy advocacy. Mario’s passion for utilizing information to help his community has led him to explore how to leverage Artificial Intelligence tools to improve the provision of legal services. Mario holds an M.A. in Social Sciences and he completed graduate internships abroad focused on international human rights issues, international development, regional legal networks, and refugee issues in the European Union. These experiences allowed him to develop an international perspective on global migration and enabled him to further develop his professional skills to support the immigrant community in the U.S. In his spare time, Mario enjoys cooking for his family, trying new dishes, and he recently developed an interest in organic gardening.
https://www.newleaderscouncil.org/alumni/mario-martinez

Stylianos KELAIDITIS ’10 will also join the discussion. As a TAM student, he studied overseas in Amsterdam and was in the first cohort of European Governance Track students. After TAM, we worked for the Michael and Kitty Dukakis Center for Public and Humanitarian Service at the American College of Thessaloniki. He is now a Project Assistant for the International Organization for Migratio in Thessaloniki – Greece.

 

On October 2, 2020 one of our TransAtlantic Masters (TAM) Students joined an alumni panel and discussed her work with refugees.

 

 

Nourah Shuaibi.Nourah Shuaibi ’15

Nourah is a doctoral student at The University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Nourah’s research is on conflict resolution, transitional justice and international political economy. She is also one of the founders and Chair of a non-profit organization called Global Outreach Leaders (GOL). Started in 2014, this organization has 3 divisions: workforce development, community advancement, global health. Nourah and her team have been around the world mediating conflict and helping alleviate refugee’s struggles. Nourah is currently the General Manager of Corporate Culture and communications at a leading Asset management group in the UAE. She is also expanding her nonprofit organization in the US to the GCC and MENA region to focus on women’s empowerment. Nourah holds three bachelor’s degrees in Peace and Conflict Resolution studies, International Studies, and Political Science from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She enrolled in the TAM Program in 2013 and studied overseas in Prague and Siena.

 

WRESL Fellows 2020

The text in the tooltip says: Allison is a second-year student in the EURO-TAM excel program at Carolina. She is also pursuing a minor in the Politics, Philosophy, and Economics (PPE) Program, and plans to apply to the Kenan-Flagler Business School in the summer of 2019. Beginning with her tenure at UNC this fall, Allison has begun to actively work with the WRESL program and is looking forward to continuing in this capacity throughout the rest of this year and into the future.

The text in the tooltip says: Desiree Lockhart is a first-year Honors student from Maryland studying Public Policy. Growing up in an extremely diverse area with a high immigrant population led her to have a passion for foreign affairs and serve under-represented communities.

Headshot of Xander. Tooltip text says Xander is a first year student from Jacksonville, Florida majoring in Contemporary Studies and Global Studies. He became apart of WRESL because of his interest in refugees and immigration politics and hopes to better educate himself and others on this topic.

Tooltip text says Hello! My name is Tracy Ridley, and I am a first-year student in the EURO-TAM excel program at Carolina. I am double-majoring in Contemporary European Studies and Political Science, with a minor in German. I joined WRESL my first semester at Carolina because of my deep interest in the refugee crisis in Europe and the struggles facing thousands of people across the continent. In the future, I hope to use my education, skills, and background to help those in need and make my impact on as many people as possible worldwide.

Headshot of Lizzie. Tooltip text says Lizzie Russler is a senior from Charleston, South Carolina studying Contemporary European Studies and Environmental Sustainability. With experience in the non-profit, private and public spheres, Lizzie is passionate about finding cross-sectoral solutions to our world's most pressing challenges, including the climate crisis and associated migration, migrant integration, and human rights abuses.

Blog Posts

RECENT WRESL EVENT: SCREENING: THE FIELDS OF IMMOKALEE

At noon on February 7th, we screened a Bertelsmann-Foundation film in the GEC followed by a panel.
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OCTOBER 2019 WORKSHOP – CHRIS AND HEVAL

WRESL members were recently invited to take part in a workshop focused on reconciling differing opinions.
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MARCH 1ST: AN EVENING ON IMMIGRATION

Susanne Dieper, Director of Programs and Grants at the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS) at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, D.C., joined us to discuss the AICGS project called “Integration: Made in Germany.”
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WRESL HAD ITS FIRST FALL 2019 MEETING ON SEPT. 20TH

We heard from Professor Christiane Lemke of the University of Hannover in Germany and from one of our WRESL members, Cameren Lofton, about a refugee theater project they worked on this summer.
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TAM Student Volunteering

After returning to UNC during the peak of the Refugee Crisis, Sam Barber got involved as a volunteer in the refugee community in Chapel Hill, via student organization INJAZ.
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A European Partner and Refugees

Center colleague Christian Wilhelm, from Humboldt University in Berlin, spoke with WRESL about creating a path for refugees in Germany to enroll in Humboldt’s German-Turkish Master’s Program. One student shared her reflection.
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Refugees in Europe and Berlin

My German colleague wanted to enable refugees to join GeTMA – the German-Turkish Master’s Program Humboldt has run in conjunction with The Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara.
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Volunteering with Refugees Overseas

The Center for European Studies hosted a panel discussion focused on undergraduates who will undertake or have engaged in volunteer work with refugees overseas.
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Students Visit Refugee Exhibition

A small group of Excel @ Carolina students who are part of our EURO-TAM Program recently went to The Friday Center to see a multimedia art exhibition called REFUGEE. The students shared their impressions.
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