COLLEGE PARK, MD—The University of Maryland (UMD) today announced that the campus will commemorate the 2018-19 academic year as the “Year of Immigration.” Driven by the support of faculty, staff and students across UMD’s schools and colleges, the Year of Immigration will support the university’s mission to cultivate global citizenry by transforming dialogue into impact on urgent issues related to immigration, global migration and refugees.
“One of the University of Maryland’s great strengths is our international diversity, both on campus and in our surrounding neighborhoods,” said Ross Lewin, UMD Associate Vice President for International Affairs. “We hope the Year of Immigration will provide opportunities to learn, discuss solutions, and connect in ways that will foster a more inclusive community.”
Migration is one of the biggest challenges facing the U.S. and the world at large. As of last month, more than 500 migrant children were yet to be reunited with their families following separation at the U.S.-Mexico border, and bipartisan agreement on U.S. immigration reform remains a challenge. Last year, a record 68.5 million people around the world were forced to flee their homes due to conflict, persecution and poverty. That’s an average of one person displaced every two seconds.
Working to advance UMD’s mission to prepare students for an increasingly global society, the Year of Immigration will offer curricula and programming under three interconnected themes:
Conversation will include a series of educational opportunities to raise awareness and deepen knowledge in the UMD community on key issues related to immigration, global migration and refugees. This includes the selection for the 2018-19 First Year Book, “The Refugees,” by Vietnamese-American novelist and Pulitzer Prize-winner Viet Thanh Nguyen, who will visit campus in October as part of the Arts & Humanities Dean’s Lecture Series. The initiative will highlight immigration and migration-themed courses from across the university’s schools and colleges, Education Abroad programs and Global Classrooms.
Community will provide UMD community members with opportunities to engage with local international and immigrant communities. UMD’s Office of Community Engagement will host a series of translation and interpretation events throughout the year, as well as a fall “Design Thinking” workshop with area non-profit organizations that will focus on immigrant civil rights issues.
Culture will recognize and celebrate the international diversity and cultures of our campus, surrounding communities and beyond. This will include original storytelling, a film festival, international food events through UMD Dining Services, exhibitions presented by UMD Libraries’ Special Collections and numerous globally-focused arts performances, including an opera and chamber music series as part of the School of Music Maryland Opera Studio’s Kurt Weill Festival beginning in October.
As the largest public research university in the Washington, D.C. region, UMD has a student body representing over 130 countries. More than one-third of our graduate students and 1,300 scholars come here from other countries to study, teach and conduct research. UMD also partners closely with the surrounding Prince George’s County community, where nearly one in four residents are foreign-born.
“The Year of Immigration provides an opportunity for us to highlight and engage students, faculty and staff in the wide range of research, teaching and service conducted on the flagship campus, illuminating contemporary and historical aspects of the movement of peoples across and within borders,” said Bonnie Thornton Dill, Dean of UMD’s College of Arts & Humanities.
For more information, visit www.yearofimmigration.umd.edu, or engage on social media with #YearofImmigration.