Speakers - Fletcher Disrupts: The Refugee Crisis

Presenters

Ali Aljundi, Project Officer, Syria, Humanitarian Response Department, Oxfam America

Ali Aljundi is a Syrian civil activist and development practitioner. He built on his diverse experience and wide knowledge of the Syrian conflict to perform his duties as a Syria project officer at Oxfam America. Ali left Syria in August 2012 after he got a full scholarship from Open Society Foundation and Brandeis University. He completed his master's degree in sustainable international development and graduated from Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University in May 2014. Before leaving Syria, Aljundi focused on youth employment and career development through his work as a senior career development coordinator at the United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA). Previously, Aljundi worked in grant writing, microfinance, rural development, and women's empowerment in his capacity as a marketing development officer at Aga Khan Foundation. Ali participated in establishing a local NGO in his home district in 2006 and contributed to grant writing, fundraising, networking, and women's empowerment through his volunteer position as the development coordinator. 

Ali Aljundi is a Syrian civil activist and development practitioner. He built on his diverse experience and wide knowledge of the Syrian conflict to perform his duties as a Syria project officer at Oxfam America. Ali left Syria in August 2012 after he got a full scholarship from Open Society Foundation and Brandeis University. He completed his master's degree in sustainable international development and graduated from Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University in May 2014.

Before leaving Syria, Aljundi focused on youth employment and career development through his work as a senior career development coordinator at the United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA). Previously, Aljundi worked in grant writing, microfinance, rural development, and women's empowerment in his capacity as a marketing development officer at Aga Khan Foundation.

Ali participated in establishing a local NGO in his home district in 2006 and contributed to grant writing, fundraising, networking, and women's empowerment through his volunteer position as the development coordinator. 

Eric Aronson, regional refugee coordinator, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL USa; coordinator, Group 133 refugee action team

Eric Aronson has been Amnesty International USA’s northeast refugee coordinator since 2015, and previously from 1998 to 2005. He is coordinator of Amnesty International Local Group 133’s Refugee Action Team, which he co-founded in 1997. He founded AIUSA’s Northeast Asylum & Detention Project, and was a trauma consultant to AIUSA’s Kosovo Documentation Project. He chaired the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies’ Human Rights and Social Policy Special Interest Group from 2001 to 2003, and was a member of Physicians for Human Rights’ Asylum Network from 1997 to 2009. He served on the Massachusetts Governor’s Commission on Sexual and Domestic Violence  Prevention and Education Committee from 2003 to 2005. He is also a licensed clinical psychologist based in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, and specializes in trauma and PTSD. He has worked with refugees and immigrants of many nationalities and ethnic backgrounds, and in 2011 he received Refugee Immigration Ministry’s Constance Hammond Award for service to refugees and immigrants.  

Eric Aronson has been Amnesty International USA’s northeast refugee coordinator since 2015, and previously from 1998 to 2005. He is coordinator of Amnesty International Local Group 133’s Refugee Action Team, which he co-founded in 1997. He founded AIUSA’s Northeast Asylum & Detention Project, and was a trauma consultant to AIUSA’s Kosovo Documentation Project. He chaired the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies’ Human Rights and Social Policy Special Interest Group from 2001 to 2003, and was a member of Physicians for Human Rights’ Asylum Network from 1997 to 2009. He served on the Massachusetts Governor’s Commission on Sexual and Domestic Violence  Prevention and Education Committee from 2003 to 2005. He is also a licensed clinical psychologist based in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, and specializes in trauma and PTSD. He has worked with refugees and immigrants of many nationalities and ethnic backgrounds, and in 2011 he received Refugee Immigration Ministry’s Constance Hammond Award for service to refugees and immigrants.  

DEIRDRE M. GIBLIN, Staff Asylum Attorney, Community Legal Services and Counseling Center (CLSACC)

Deirdre M. Giblin  has practiced law for almost 25 years, and has been an asylum attorney in the immigration unit at CLSACC since 2008, specializing in humanitarian, refuge, and asylum law. Prior to that, she managed the Asylum Intake project at a refugee resettlement agency, the International Institute of Boston, for nine years. Giblin is the pro bono co-chair of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) New England chapter, and a founding member of a regional collaboration for pro bono limited representation in bond hearings for detained immigrants in Massachusetts. She has previously chaired AILA New England's Asylum Committee and the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) Committee. She is a co-principal on a training grant from the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Torture Survivors through which she trains legal and mental health providers on the legal process for asylum seekers and refugees and the intersection of post-trauma health issues. Giblin is a member of the Amnesty International Leadership Circle, the UNICEF Hepburn Society, and the American Bar Association Immigration Section. Giblin graduated from Boston University where she was a Case Scholar and Scarlet Key Award Recipient, and earned a JD from Penn Law and the Parker School Award Achievement in International and Foreign Law from Columbia Law School in 1993. She is a frequent lecturer at continuing legal education symposiums and at area colleges and universities, and the author of the Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) Immigration Primer chapter on remedies of immigrant victims of crime and trafficking.

Deirdre M. Giblin  has practiced law for almost 25 years, and has been an asylum attorney in the immigration unit at CLSACC since 2008, specializing in humanitarian, refuge, and asylum law. Prior to that, she managed the Asylum Intake project at a refugee resettlement agency, the International Institute of Boston, for nine years. Giblin is the pro bono co-chair of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) New England chapter, and a founding member of a regional collaboration for pro bono limited representation in bond hearings for detained immigrants in Massachusetts. She has previously chaired AILA New England's Asylum Committee and the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) Committee. She is a co-principal on a training grant from the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Torture Survivors through which she trains legal and mental health providers on the legal process for asylum seekers and refugees and the intersection of post-trauma health issues. Giblin is a member of the Amnesty International Leadership Circle, the UNICEF Hepburn Society, and the American Bar Association Immigration Section.

Giblin graduated from Boston University where she was a Case Scholar and Scarlet Key Award Recipient, and earned a JD from Penn Law and the Parker School Award Achievement in International and Foreign Law from Columbia Law School in 1993. She is a frequent lecturer at continuing legal education symposiums and at area colleges and universities, and the author of the Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) Immigration Primer chapter on remedies of immigrant victims of crime and trafficking.

LIZA RYAN, DIRECTOR OF ORGANIZING, MASSACHUSETTS IMMIGRANT AND REFUGEE ADVOCACY COALITION (MIRA)

Liza Ryan is the organizing director at the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA). Ryan joins MIRA with over ten years experience working with refugees, immigrants, and foreign/public policy everywhere from sub-Saharan Africa to throughout the Middle East and Europe. Before moving to Boston in 2015, she worked with the East-West Center, a diplomatic think tank in Honolulu, Hawaii, where she organized and coordinated fellowships for high-level media, political leaders, and educators on global affairs and media development, including U.S. relations with the Muslim-majority world. Ryan holds a master’s degree in diplomacy and strategic studies from Hawaii Pacific University, as well as an undergraduate degree in intercultural studies and language from the University of the Nations, Amsterdam.  She has lived in over 15 countries and is a native of Vancouver, Canada.

Liza Ryan is the organizing director at the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA). Ryan joins MIRA with over ten years experience working with refugees, immigrants, and foreign/public policy everywhere from sub-Saharan Africa to throughout the Middle East and Europe.

Before moving to Boston in 2015, she worked with the East-West Center, a diplomatic think tank in Honolulu, Hawaii, where she organized and coordinated fellowships for high-level media, political leaders, and educators on global affairs and media development, including U.S. relations with the Muslim-majority world.

Ryan holds a master’s degree in diplomacy and strategic studies from Hawaii Pacific University, as well as an undergraduate degree in intercultural studies and language from the University of the Nations, Amsterdam.  She has lived in over 15 countries and is a native of Vancouver, Canada.

Amy Smith and MARTHA THOMPSON, MIT D-LAB

Martha Thompson is co-instructor (with Amy Smith) for Innovation in Relief, Recovery, and Rebuilding, offered for the first time in spring of 2016. She is a humanitarian worker with a focus on gender and exclusion in crisis situations. She has worked in conflict and emergency situations all over the globe, taught humanitarian practice at Tufts University and Brandeis University and has published extensively on issues on gender, emergency response and working in conflict situations. In emergencies like the Asian tsunami, Darfur, Somalia, the Japanese tsunami and the Haitian earthquake, Thompson's focus has been on how remedy the inequalities in humanitarian response as it is currently practiced. In 2009, she began to collaborate with D-Lab to see how appropriate, sustainable technologies could be used to improve the situation for communities returning from war in Northern Uganda. With D-Lab founder and co-director Amy Smith, she has further developed this work with through Rethink Relief. Rethink Relief focuses on getting aid workers to think differently about humanitarian work and to get refugees and displaced involved in designing technologies to improve their lives in the camps and in the transition towards home. Martha has lived and worked in Latin America for 18 years and in conflict zones and refugee camps in Central America and in Cuba. Her nine years of work managing the Rights in Humanitarian Crisis for the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee involved leading humanitarian response programs in Haiti, Darfur, Myanmar, Pakistan, Somalia, Uganda, Kenya, Japan, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, and Aceh. She is currently a consultant on humanitarian aid, gender, and program development. 

Martha Thompson is co-instructor (with Amy Smith) for Innovation in Relief, Recovery, and Rebuilding, offered for the first time in spring of 2016. She is a humanitarian worker with a focus on gender and exclusion in crisis situations. She has worked in conflict and emergency situations all over the globe, taught humanitarian practice at Tufts University and Brandeis University and has published extensively on issues on gender, emergency response and working in conflict situations. In emergencies like the Asian tsunami, Darfur, Somalia, the Japanese tsunami and the Haitian earthquake, Thompson's focus has been on how remedy the inequalities in humanitarian response as it is currently practiced. In 2009, she began to collaborate with D-Lab to see how appropriate, sustainable technologies could be used to improve the situation for communities returning from war in Northern Uganda. With D-Lab founder and co-director Amy Smith, she has further developed this work with through Rethink Relief. Rethink Relief focuses on getting aid workers to think differently about humanitarian work and to get refugees and displaced involved in designing technologies to improve their lives in the camps and in the transition towards home. Martha has lived and worked in Latin America for 18 years and in conflict zones and refugee camps in Central America and in Cuba. Her nine years of work managing the Rights in Humanitarian Crisis for the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee involved leading humanitarian response programs in Haiti, Darfur, Myanmar, Pakistan, Somalia, Uganda, Kenya, Japan, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, and Aceh. She is currently a consultant on humanitarian aid, gender, and program development. 

Amy Smith is a senior lecturer in mechanical engineering at MIT. She served in the U.S. Peace Corps in Botswana and has also done field work in Senegal, South Africa, Nepal, Haiti, Honduras, Uganda, Ghana and Zambia. She won the BF Goodrich Collegiate Inventor's Award and the Lemelson-MIT Student Prize for Invention for her work in creating technologies to improve the lives of people living in poverty. In 2002, she founded MIT D-Lab, a program which focuses on the development, design, and dissemination of appropriate technologies for international development. She also founded the International Development Innovation Network at MIT, the Innovations in International Health program, and the International Development Design Summit. She was selected as a 2004 MacArthur Fellow, recognizing her work in this area and was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2010 for the work she is doing to promote local innovation and technology creation. Her current projects are in the areas of water testing, treatment and storage, agricultural processing and alternative energy. She serves as co-director of D-Lab and is director of the International Development Innovation Network.

Amy Smith is a senior lecturer in mechanical engineering at MIT. She served in the U.S. Peace Corps in Botswana and has also done field work in Senegal, South Africa, Nepal, Haiti, Honduras, Uganda, Ghana and Zambia. She won the BF Goodrich Collegiate Inventor's Award and the Lemelson-MIT Student Prize for Invention for her work in creating technologies to improve the lives of people living in poverty. In 2002, she founded MIT D-Lab, a program which focuses on the development, design, and dissemination of appropriate technologies for international development. She also founded the International Development Innovation Network at MIT, the Innovations in International Health program, and the International Development Design Summit. She was selected as a 2004 MacArthur Fellow, recognizing her work in this area and was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2010 for the work she is doing to promote local innovation and technology creation. Her current projects are in the areas of water testing, treatment and storage, agricultural processing and alternative energy. She serves as co-director of D-Lab and is director of the International Development Innovation Network.

Sam Tulimat, International Institute of New England (IINE) 

Sam Tulimat is an activist and entrepreneur. He was born and raised in the beautiful, quaint city of Homs, in Syria, where he developed a passion for technology and business after starting a company in his hometown. His interests lead him half away across the world to study computer science in the U.S. In his day job, he works as a product manager at Maxwell Health, a local startup. He spends the rest of his free time on political advocacy and outreach on the Syrian crisis. He currently serves as an advisory council member for the Internation Institute of New England.   

Sam Tulimat is an activist and entrepreneur. He was born and raised in the beautiful, quaint city of Homs, in Syria, where he developed a passion for technology and business after starting a company in his hometown. His interests lead him half away across the world to study computer science in the U.S. In his day job, he works as a product manager at Maxwell Health, a local startup. He spends the rest of his free time on political advocacy and outreach on the Syrian crisis. He currently serves as an advisory council member for the Internation Institute of New England.