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Colby College will bring together students, faculty, and members of the community to explore the ongoing Iraqi refugee crisis and discuss ways to bring more Iraqis to safety and welcome them upon arrival. Confronting the Iraqi Refugee Crisis: From Awareness to Action will be held Saturday, Feb. 7, at 10 a.m. in the Diamond Building. All are welcome.

At least 1.5 million Iraqis have fled or been forced from their homes since the U.S. invasion of 2003; perhaps two million more are displaced within Iraq’s fragile borders. Many of them now live in cities throughout Jordan and Syria and seek permanent resettlement elsewhere. Some Iraqi refugees have recently settled in Portland, Maine.

This year, American officials exceeded their goal of accepting 12,000 refugees into the U.S. — more than the year before, but still only a small fraction of the at-risk population.

The Iraqi Refugee Awareness Movement at Colby works to build awareness, raise money, and organize political support for these victims of war and to find practical, collaborative solutions at the campus, local, and national levels.

This conference will feature presentations by former New York Times interpreter Nour Al-Khal and photojournalist Kael Alford, speeches by advocates and directors from Refugees International and the International Rescue Committee, and workshops designed to encourage grassroots efforts to help refugees in our communities. Former translator Alaa Rasheed will speak during lunch and journalist and author Laila Al-Arian will give the keynote address at dinner.

This is an open community event sponsored by the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement. Those interested in attending or obtaining more information can contact Professor Jason Opal at jopal@colby.edu. A full schedule is available online.