“Immigration will always be part of our country’s national conversation, and as a higher education institution, it is important for HWS to have a shared discussion on the ways in which immigration impacts our campus community,” says Director of the Office of Intercultural Affairs Alejandra Molina, who also serves as an assistant professor in the Latin American Studies program. On Monday, Dec. 5, Molina convened a panel, “Immigration: Voices and Identities” at 7 p.m. in Bartlett Theatre.
The event featured a panel of students and faculty, including Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Sociology Ervin Kosta, Nagina Ahmadi ’20, Kely Amejecor ’18, John Camara ’19 and Sergio Perez ’19. Closing remarks were provided by Alejandra Castillo ’20.
Through the lens of immigration, the panel examined various reasons for immigration, stereotypes and race, feelings of homesickness, and the challenges of encountering new customs and cultures.
“As the son of Filipino immigrants, these issues affect me whether through campus or community issues such as citizenship or access to education,” reflects Camara.
During the question and answer segment, the audience and panelists discussed the importance of creating conversations around immigration on campus and off, since, as Kosta put it, “There is no such thing as immigration in America [because] immigration is America.”
Molina, who opened the event, convened the panel as part of her Kinghorn Global Fellowship. To honor her commitment to global education and citizenship at HWS, Molina was named the 2015-16 recipient of John Readie & Florence B. Kinghorn Global Fellowship, an honor which included a grant of $3,000. The fellowship was established in 1970 and generously endowed by Dr. and Mrs. William Reckmeyer in honor of John Readie and Florence B. Kinghorn.
“We are very grateful to the Kinghorn International Fellowship for making this conversation on immigration possible,” she says. “We hope that members of our community were able to reflect on what immigration means in the context of a 21st century liberal arts institution such as ours.”
As director of Intercultural Affairs, Molina has brought together HWS and Geneva community groups, sponsoring campus-wide conferences and bringing together persons with common concerns and interests. She coordinated an African-American oral history project that resulted in the publication, “Writing to Remember,” and developed HWS internships at the Geneva Historical Society for students to engage in research and documentation of Latinos and other community members in the area.
Molina also coordinated a conference on immigration, poverty and homelessness. In collaboration with the Smith Opera House, she helped to organize Geneva’s first Latino Film Festival in October 2010.