Welcoming The Stranger: Refugees and Immigrants in Our Midst

On February 25, 2016, the Rumi Forum hosted an Abrahamic Discussion Series panel on the issue of “Welcoming The Stranger: Refugees and Immigrants in Our Midst.”

Naseem Rizvi, Dr. Patricia Maloof, Rabbi Gerry Serotta and Sandra Chisholm discussed the issue from the viewpoint of Abrahamic traditions.

Date: February 25, 2016 at 6:30 PM

Venue: ATFA 3949 University Dr. Fairfax, VA 22031

Naseem Rizvi has numerous years of experience in the field of International Affairs as well as in the non-profit sector. Rizvi obtained her master’s degree in International Affairs at the Quid- e- Azam University in Islamabad, Pakistan. She has worked as an adjunct instructor at the University of Loyola in Chicago where she taught several classes on U.S.-Afghanistan Foreign Policy as well as human rights and international affairs in Asia. She has also served as a panelist speaking about Islam and women issues. Rizvi then became a case manager and a program coordinator at the Council of Peoples Organization in Brooklyn, New York to assist diverse communities in health, employment, education, and legal issues. From 2008 to 2014, Naseem Rizvi worked at the Open Society Foundations and conducted extensive research and produced papers on international funding trends.

Dr. Patricia Maloof is the Program Director of Migration and Refugee Services for Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington (VA). She was formerly the Director of Development with the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), the largest charitable immigration legal services network in the United States.   Dr. Maloof began her work with refugees in the 1980s. She advocates, publishes, and conducts research on barriers to health care access and the provision of services to refugees and immigrants. Dr. Maloof is trained as a medical interpreter and is a part-time faculty member in the Department of Anthropology at the Catholic University of America. Three of her publications can be found on-line: Muslim Refugees in the United States; Mind/Body/Spirit: Toward a Biopsychosocial-Spiritual Model of Health; and A Review of the Literature — Mentoring: An Evidence-based Strategy to Increase Diversity Among Students and Faculty from Racial and Ethnic Groups Underrepresented in Maternal and Child Health Training Programs. She has a Ph.D. in Medical Anthropology from the Catholic University of America and a B.A. and M.A. in Anthropology from George Washington University.

Rabbi Gerald Serotta is the Executive Director of the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington (IFC) Prior to his position at the IFC he was the Founding Executive Director of Clergy Beyond Borders. Rabbi Serotta formerly served as a University Chaplain and Hillel Rabbi for 28 years, the last twenty years at The George Washington University, where he was Chair of the Board of Chaplains. He also served as President of the Association of Hillel and Jewish Campus Professionals. While on Sabbatical from Hillel, he held the position of Senior Rabbinic Scholar-in-Residence at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, working on issues of globalization and economic justice from a Jewish perspective. He also served Temple Shalom and Shirat HaNefesh Congregations in Chevy Chase, MD., as spiritual leader.

Sandra Chisholm has been the Fairfax County Community Interfaith Liaison for over 15 years and directs the Fairfax County Community Interfaith Coordination Program within the Fairfax County Department of Neighborhood and Community Services. During her time, she has increased the coordination between communities, non-profit organizations, and government organizations to help strengthen their service systems and structures. She was the recipient of the prestigious Onthank Award in 2010 to honor her outstanding work in advancing and improving public service. Chisholm has also been involved in creating several interfaith task forces to increase awareness for emergency preparation by providing training and engaging places of worship.

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