Artists, Leading Theologians, Legal Scholars, And Community Leaders To Explore Migration And Border Crossings In Multidisciplinary Conference

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    Dave Baker
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    Decatur, GA – Columbia Theological Seminary and Emory University’s Center for the Study of Law and Religion are excited to co-host a multidisciplinary conference on immigration – Migration and Border Crossings-February 7-9, 2019 at Columbia Seminary.

    “This conference will bring together leading theologians, legal scholars, artists, and leaders of faith communities to explore global migration,” says Leanne Van Dyk, president of Columbia Theological Seminary. “The speakers at this conference are extraordinary: Juan Felipe Herrera, Poet Laureate of the United States from 2015-2017 and the winner of National Book Critics award, will give the opening keynote titled ‘The Journey of the Migrant.’ Emilie Townes, Dean of Vanderbilt Divinity School, will give the closing keynote focusing on displacement and trauma.”

    Other notable presenters include: Kwok Pui Lan, Khaled Beydoun, Heval Mohamed Kelli, Daniel Carroll, Kristin Heyer, Peter C. Phan, Todd Green, Rose Cuison Villazor, Jehu Hanciles, Claudio Carvalhaes, Azadeh N. Shahshahani, and Michele R. Pistone.

    In addition to the presenters, the conference has made space for a strong presence of the arts during the three-day event. Emory University’s Staibdance group will present an original dance performance called “Moat,” an evening length exploration of human migration from Iran to a small Pennsylvania town during the Iran hostage crisis.

    “Columbia Seminary’s proximity to Clarkston, GA, which is home to immigrants and refugees from about 50 countries and is often called ‘the most diverse square mile in America’ makes us the ideal seminary to host this major conference on immigration,” says conference co-convener Raj Nadella, Assistant Professor of New Testament and Director of MATS Program at Columbia Theological Seminary.

    “We have observed that the issue of immigration moved to the center of our national discourse in the lead up to the 2016 presidential election and has become much more significant in the last two years. Although the issue is widely discussed in legal, political, and ecclesial circles, such conversations occur mostly in a piece-meal fashion. There have been few attempts to address various aspects of immigration-historical, political, religious, racial/ethnic, and theological/ethical-in a coherent and substantial manner,” says Nadella. “Many scholars and faith communities across the United States have been attempting to address this issue that is affecting their communities, but they lack substantial resources to facilitate constructive conversations and take steps towards participatory action.”

    The conference will feature three plenary sessions that explore the causes, the processes, and the effects of migration as well as multiple workshops that will offer insights and tools for addressing immigration related issues.

    “Other entities are partnering with us to make this a truly international conference of global significance,” says Silas Allard, Managing Director of Emory University’s Center for Law and Religion, Harold J. Berman Fellow in Law and Religion and conference co-convener. “We are grateful to the World Council of Churches and the Council on American Islamic Relations for their partnership.”

    More information on the even can be found on the Migration and Border Crossing webpage.

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