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Conversation to help inform community on refugee resettlement in Tucson

Three+Syrian+women+sell+cookies+and+drinks+at+the%26nbsp%3BSyrian+refugee+bake+sale%26nbsp%3Bin+Dec.+2016.+UA+will+hold+a+talk+April+20+to+inform+the+community+and+refugees+about+relocating+to+Tucson.

Three Syrian women sell cookies and drinks at the Syrian refugee bake sale in Dec. 2016. UA will hold a talk April 20 to inform the community and refugees about relocating to Tucson.

UA will be holding an event for community members to discuss issues and concerns surrounding refugee resettlement in the U.S. called ‘Dismantling Fear: Voices of Tucson’s Refugee Community.’

Orhon Myadar, an assistant professor for the School of Geography & Development and one of the event’s creators, said the event is meant to provide information for refugees and those who may not know much about refugees.

“We believe that some people are afraid and concerned that refugees may pose a threat to national security,” she said. “We would love for those people to come ask any questions they may have to address those fears.”

Myadar was inspired to work on ‘Dismantling Fear’ when she met one of her students who grew up in a refugee camp in Kenya.

“He eventually came to Tucson and his story is haunting and heartbreaking,” she said. “It changed the way I saw the refugee population.”

The event will have a panel including several refugees telling their stories, representatives from refugee organizations, a law professor and many more all with the goal of informing refugees of their options and those who may not understand the experiences of refugees.

“We have a legal scholar we are hoping can provide comprehensive information,” Myadar said. “We are hoping to provide information about the refugee settlement process.”

RELATED: UA professors receive $1.4 million grant to study motive and movement of refugees

The event’s coordinators are hopeful that the first-of-its-kind discussion at UA will be a success.

“We first talked about doing it after the refugee executive order,” Myadar said. “It’s been an ongoing process and it’s taken some time to put together.”

The entire UA community is welcome to attend, Myadar said. 

“It will be more helpful to those with fears of refugees and refugees themselves,” she said. “People who are already sympathetic to the cause already know what’s going on.”

According to a report from UA’s Confluencenter for Creative Inquiry, the refugee’s stories will be illustrated through art-making workshops, which will create a space where community members can share their stories publicly.

The ‘Dismantling Fear’ coordinators are hoping these stories will bring academic attention to refugee issues.

“I’m certainly hoping it will be a success,” Myadar said. “Hopefully there will be more of these discussions to come.”

The discussion will take place in room S107 of the Environmental and Natural Resources 2 building at 5:15 p.m. on Thursday, April 20.


Follow Jessica Blackburn on Twitter.


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