Conference on Justice and Social Concerns to focus on immigration, refugees

Event features Lin Great Speakers Series, Art of Peace Award presentation

St. Mary’s University will confront a timely topic – “Immigration, Migration and Refugees” – during its second Conference on Justice and Social Concerns on Oct. 25-26.

The conference includes Lin Great Speakers Series presentations by Ruth Behar, Ph.D., a University of Michigan professor of anthropology, and Elizabeth Ferris, Ph.D., who’s a Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy for the Brookings Institution and a research professor at the Institute for the Study of International Migration within Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

Another highlight of the event will be the presentation of the Art of Peace Award to Anne Wallace, a San Antonio artist affiliated with the Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum.

All sessions are open to the public and will be held in University Center, Conference Room A.

Tuesday, Oct. 25
9:45-11 a.m.: Lin Great Speakers Series: “I Come From All Places and to All Places I Go” – Ruth Behar, Ph.D., University of Michigan Professor of Anthropology
11:10 a.m.-12:25 p.m.: Panel discussion: “Family Detention in South Texas”
Panelists: Melissa Cuadrado, Staff Attorney, Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights; Sister Norma Pimentel, Executive Director, Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley; and Jonathan Ryan, Executive Director, Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services
12:35-1:50 p.m.: Art of Peace Award presentation and workshop featuring Anne Wallace of Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum

Wednesday, Oct. 26
9:20-10:10 a.m.: Panel discussion: “Immigrants, Migrants and Refugees in San Antonio”
Panelists: Margaret Costantino, Executive Director, Center for Refugee Services; and Erica Schommer, Clinical Assistant Professor of Law, St. Mary’s School of Law
10:20-11:10 a.m.: Panel discussion: “Business, Economics and Immigration”
Panelists: Ramiro Cavazos, President and Chief Executive Officer, San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; and Belinda Román, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Economics, Palo Alto College, and Adjunct Professor of Economics, St. Mary’s
7 p.m.: Lin Great Speakers Series: “The World at a Crossroads: Responding to Refugees and Migrants” – Elizabeth Ferris, Ph.D., Georgetown University professor and Brookings Institution Senior Fellow

More about the Conference on Justice and Social Concerns
The annual Conference provides the St. Mary’s University campus community with the opportunity to engage with issues of social justice, faith, and personal and communal responsibility for the common good.

The Conference follows the direction set out from the Second Vatican Council to read, interpret and respond to the signs of the times (Gaudium et Spes, 4). The two-day event will be hosted each year by one of the University’s schools and will bring together experts from both academic and practical realms to lead the campus in dialogue around issues challenging our community locally and globally. The Conference will always include a keynote lecture supported by the Lin Great Speakers Series endowment.

Planned by a committee of students, faculty and staff, the conference is meant to invoke dialogue and even debate, recognizing the value of critical thinking and healthy tension. It provides an opportunity for all to encounter new perspectives and adopt methods for thoughtful critique and questioning. The value of a Catholic, liberal arts education is to learn to engage, to think critically and creatively, to have healthy dialogue, and to do so from a place of compassion and respect, rooted in love for one another and a desire to be agents of positive change in our world.

More about the Lin Great Speakers Series
Since 1990, St. Mary’s University has offered the Lin Great Speakers Series to the public as a community service. The series is made possible by an endowment established in the memory of Shu Chi Lin by his widow, Chang Le-Chiao, and his son, Vincent Lin, an alumnus and former St. Mary’s faculty member.


St. Mary's University, founded in 1852, is the first institution of higher learning in San Antonio and the oldest Catholic university in the Southwest. It offers 75 programs, including doctoral and law programs, and has a diverse student population of about 3,800 of all faiths and backgrounds. Its vision, as a Catholic and Marianist liberal arts institution, is to become one of the finest private universities in the region, a gateway for graduates to professional lives as ethical leaders in Texas, the nation and the world.

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