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Loyola University New Orleans Hosts an International Author and an Immigrant Expert to Discuss World Refugee Crisis and Unfolding Middle Eastern Tensions

Loyola press release - October 6, 2016

Author Raif Shwaryi travels from Lebanon and Dr. Lina Beydoun from New York to share with students the importance of immigration and share their insights about the unfolding crisis.

(NEW ORLEANS-October 6, 2016) Author and international development consultant Raif Shwayri travels from Lebanon to the U.S. to shed light on immigration issues in a talk entitled “They Have Come in Peace.” Dr. Lina Beydoun, Academic Executive Director of the Lebanese American University’s New York Headquarters & Academic Center, as well as an expert on immigration, will share the platform with him at Loyola University New Orleans.

The presentation takes place at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016 in Loyola University’s Miller Hall, Room 114, and will draw from Shwayri’s newly released book, “Beirut on the Bayou,” (SUNY Press, 2016) the successful immigration tale of his grandfather Alfred Nicola, who arrived in the U.S. at the turn of the 20th century. The discussion will inform audiences why he came and what it meant to leave his own country of origin, now called Lebanon, in the midst of change.

From this narrative, the talk will investigate the challenges and reasons associated with immigration then and today, and review impacts and implications, including the contributions and importance of immigrants and refugees in building their own lives, the host society, and the society of their origin. This joint presentation comes at a time as Middle East is entrenched in war and destruction and the world battles a refugee and immigration crisis.

“Considering the rhetoric of the U.S. presidential election on immigration and the unfolding humanitarian and refugee crisis in the Middle East,” said Distinguished Professor of History Behrooz Moazami, “we hope that this talk will attract our students and a larger audience to create a lively debate on the subject.”

Raif Shwayri is not only an author, but also an international development consultant and social entrepreneur. He is a graduate of the American University of Beirut, King’s College London and the University of Wales and a past recipient of the John W. Ryan Fellowship for International Education awarded by the State University of New York.

Shwayri has also has served as the CEO of Al-Kafaàt Foundation and a trustee of Al- Kafaàt University in Lebanon. Today, the Foundation serves more than 5,000 students within seven different centers daily, focusing on the education and social welfare of the Lebanese people. He joins Loyola University New Orleans all the way from his home in Lebanon and visits Loyola at the invitation of Loyola’s acclaimed Middle East Peace Studies program.

Dr. Beydoun, a Lebanese-American who grew up as an immigrant in Sierra Leone, West Africa, is an expert in migration studies, human rights, and religious minorities in the Middle East and Africa, as well as global education and curriculum development.

The lecture is free and open to the public and will also feature a book signing by Shwayri at the end of his presentation. There will be free Middle Eastern refreshments, prepared by Mona’s Catering. Free parking will be provided in the university’s West Road Garage.

Mr. Shawyri and Dr. Beydoun will be available for interviews on the day of their presentation Thursday, October 27 or the morning of Friday, October 28.