When: Thursday, December 16th @ 12pm
Where: Online via zoom
Speakers: Mak Suceska and Sara Zejnic
Since 1975, when Governor Robert Roy facilitated the resettlement of thousands displaced by the Vietnam War, Iowa has been a welcoming new home for refugees. Today, the crisis in Afghanistan requires Iowa’s continued leadership to resettle 695 people from the war-torn Middle Eastern country. In partnership with agencies and nonprofits across the state, this effort will also require the support of individuals, organizations, and communities to receive these newest Iowans and to help them feel at home in their new neighborhoods. Today’s talk will explain the complex global process of refugee resettlement, offer historical context about immigration to the state, as well as provide an insider’s perspective on and an update about how the State of Iowa is responding to the Afghan crisis. Attendees will hopefully see the talk as a call to action, with insights offered about next steps and encouragement given to enlist others to get involved. Questions about how to welcome and support refugees from Afghanistan and countries around the world are most welcome, both during and after the presentation.
Mak Suceska serves as the Bureau Chief for the Iowa Bureau of Refugee Services alongside his role as the State of Iowa Refugee Coordinator through ORR (Office of Refugee Resettlement). Mak originates from Sarajevo, Bosnia and was transplanted to Des Moines, Iowa in 1993 as a refugee, fleeing from war-torn Yugoslavia with his family. Mak's professional career has been devoted to advocating and supporting refugees across the state in an effort to promote a more equitable community for all. With over 12 years of experience in non-profits and state government, it's Mak's life journey that has provided a unique and necessary perspective in guiding his work. Mak completed his political science undergraduate studies at the University of Iowa with a double minor in religion and history. He achieved his MPA degree through Drake University with an emphasis on public policy, and will pursue his doctorate degree in Educational Leadership at Drake University. In Mak's words, "Education, Accessibility and Opportunity are the keys to success".
Sara Zejnic is Director of Refugee & Immigrant Services at Catherine McCauley Center (CMC) in Cedar Rapids. After obtaining a B.A. in International Relations and Religion from Wartburg College and a M.A. in Intercultural Service, Leadership and Management from SIT Graduate Institute, Sara has dedicated her career to providing and leading supportive services to refugees as they work to find stability and safety in their new communities. In her role at the CMC, Sara is committed to ensuring that community members, partners, and local employers have the information and resources necessary to work effectively with diverse populations.
When: Wednesday, November 17th @ 4pm
Where: Online via zoom
Dr. Marcella David will talk about how the Black Lives Matter movement can be understood through the lens of international human rights, and how the global response shows how connected we are.
Dr. Marcella David is senior vice president and provost and professor in the Business and Entrepreneurship Department at Columbia College Chicago. In her role as senior vice president and provost, David serves as the college's chief academic officer and provides leadership for all academic planning and review including academic diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, advancement of faculty scholarship, research, and creative work, global education, online learning, student retention and persistence initiatives, and the allocation of financial resources in accordance with academic priorities.
Before joining Columbia in 2019, David was a visiting professor of Law at Florida State University and previously served as the provost and vice president of academic affairs at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU), one of the nation’s top historically black colleges and universities with almost 10,000 students across a broad range of disciplines. Prior to FAMU, David held administrative leadership roles at the University of Iowa, including associate dean of the College of Law and special assistant to the president for equal opportunity and diversity. Her research interests include the use of economic and other sanctions, international criminal law, and questions related to international organizations. David received her BS in Computer Science and Systems Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York and her JD magna cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School.