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National Migration Conference has confirmed experts on migration issues

The 2008 National Migration Conference has confirmed a group of experts on refugee and migration issues.


Opening Night – July 28

Cardinal Roger Mahony – Archbishop, Archdiocese of Los Angeles

 Cardinal Mahony has been an outspoken advocate for just immigration reform. He was ordained a priest on May 1, 1962. He served as the Fresno diocesan director of Catholic Charities and Social Service for six years. Deeply interested in the welfare of the Spanish-speaking community, Fr. Mahony became a member of the West Coast Regional Office of the Bishop’s Committee for the Spanish Speaking. He has served on many USCCB committees and is a consultant for the USCCB Committee on Migration.

 Dr. Marcel Suarez- Orozco, Professor, New York University

In September 2004, Dr. Suarez-Orozco was appointed the first Courtney Sale Ross University Professor of Globalization and Education at the Steinhardt School of Education, New York University. Dr. Suarez-Orozco is the winner of multiple honors and awards, including the Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle, Mexico’s highest award to a non-Mexican citizen. He was also elected to the National Academy of Education in 2004. His research focuses on conceptual and empirical aspects of migration within the scholarly traditions of cultural psychology and psychological anthropology.  His research on global migration are routinely quoted in The Economist, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Time Magazine and other major newspapers.



Message from the Vatican: Delivered by Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, Secretary, Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerants.


 July 29 – Luncheon

  Edwidge Danticat, Author & Haitian Refugee

Edwidge Danticat was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti in 1969 and emigrated to the United States when she was twelve, joining her parents in Brooklyn. Drawing on her experiences as a Haitian-American, she writes of one of the most underrepresented cultures in American literature. She is now considered to be one of the most talented young authors in the United States. She is the author of several books, including Breath, Eyes, Memory, an Oprah Book Club selection; Krik? Krak! A National Book Award finalist; and The Farming of Bones, an American Book Award winner.


July 30 – Morning Plenary

Honorable Chris Smith (R-NJ)

As a champion of global human rights since being elected to Congress, Smith is a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Ranking Republican of the Committee’s Africa and Global Health Subcommittee. One of Smith’s significant legislative achievements is his landmark Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Law, the nation’s first law that deals specifically with human trafficking. Smith authored a third trafficking legislation that was signed by President Bush in 2006. It strengthened the nation’s current trafficking law, and provides new funds for investigation and prosecution of domestic trafficking within the United States and to help the young women and children who are most often the victims of human trafficking operations.



July 30 – Awards Banquet

Immaculee Ilibagiza

Immaculée Ilibagiza’s life was transformed dramatically during the 1994 Rwandan genocide when she and seven other women spent 91 days huddled silently together in the cramped bathroom of a local pastor’s house. After surviving the genocide, she took a job with the United Nations. In 1998, Immaculée immigrated to the United States where she continued her work with the UN. Immaculée’s first book Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust was released in March 2006. Immaculée is regarded as one of the world’s leading speakers on peace, faith and forgiveness.