Final Forum

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Final Forum of Season Tackles Contemporary Issues in Trump Era

By BOBBIE DODSON

Staff Writer

“Refugees and Asylum Seekers: Historical Context and Contemporary Issues in the Trump Era” is the title of Dr. Karen Musalo’s lecture for First Friday Forum (FFF) at 1:30 p.m. on June 1, held in the sanctuary of Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church, 49 Knox Drive, Lafayette.

Dr. Musalo says, “There are more than 65 million refugees and displaced persons in the world today – higher than at any point since the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees began tracking this group. The United States has only accepted 11 Syrian refugees thus far in this fiscal year.”

As director of the UC Hastings Center for Gender and Refugee Studies (CGRS), Dr. Musalo is intimately familiar with these staggering statistics. The center, which is nationally and internationally recognized for its expertise, is engaged in high-level policy advocacy, impact litigation and research on the issue of refugee protection for women, children and LGBTQ individuals.  It also plays a key role in training attorneys and providing expert consultation in this complex area of law.  “As the pressures on asylum seekers have increased, requests for assistance have skyrocketed,” Musalo says.

Karen Musalo is a professor of Law at UC Hastings. Recognized for her innovative work on refugee issues, she was the first attorney to partner with psychologists in her representation of traumatized asylum seekers – a practice that has since become standard.  She edited the first handbook for practitioners on cross-cultural issues and the impact of culture on credibility in the asylum context.

A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Brooklyn College, Musalo received her law degree from UC Berkeley School of Law, formerly known as Boalt Hall School of Law. She has received numerous advocacy awards for her pioneering legal work, including the 2010 California Lawyer of the Year Award, the 2009 Daily Journal’s recognition as one of the “Top 100” lawyers in California, and the American Lawyer’s 1997 recognition as one of the 45 outstanding young public interest lawyers. In 2012, she received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Lehman College. The same year she received UC Hastings’ William Rutler Award for Excellence in Teaching. She is co-author of Refugee Law and Policy: An International and Comparative Approach and has contributed to the evolving jurisprudence of asylum law through her scholarship, as well as her litigation of landmark cases. In 2014, she was named the Bank of America Foundation Chair in International Law in recognition of her cutting-edge engaged scholarship and litigation, which has positively impacted so many refugees from around the world. Musalo is a frequent speaker at conferences and law schools in the United States, and has lectured extensively in Europe and Latin America.

“Dr. Musalo comes with outstanding credentials to address the important issues of our day surrounding refugees and asylum seekers.  Plan to attend with your questions and bring friends to become informed about this ‘hot button’ topic.  You are also invited to Fellowship Hall at 1 p.m. for refreshments. This is a free event,” says Caroline Giers, co-chair of the FFF team.  “This concludes our lecture series for the year but we already have some excellent speakers for the next season which begins January 2019.”

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Dr. Karen Musalo will discuss the global refugee crisis in her First Friday Forum.

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