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Upcoming webinar focuses on migration issues

Registration open for May 8 event

by Scott O’Neill | Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE — The PC(USA)’s World Mission Office of the Middle East and Europe, in conjunction with several denomination partners, is sponsoring a webinar focused on the challenges faced by forced migration. “People on the Move” is scheduled for Wednesday, May 8 at 11 a.m. Eastern Time. Interested participants can register here.

According to the event description, the number of people forcibly displaced from their homes and communities is at an all-time high. It’s estimated to be more than 100 million people worldwide and growing. Violence and conflict, natural disasters, climate change and other social, political, and economic factors have all contributed to people being uprooted and forced to seek safety and security elsewhere.

Hannah Kummer

Presenters include Hannah Kummer, a mission partner with the Reformed Church in America who is a social worker with Mediterranean Hope, a ministry of the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy (FCEI). Mediterranean Hope serves migrants and refugees in Italy and beyond and is active in both humanitarian aid and the implementation of humanitarian corridors that offer safe and legal passage into Italy to asylum seekers.

Shahrbanu Haidari is a women’s rights activist originally from Afghanistan. She relocated to Italy when the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan and co-founded the Afghan Association Women for Women, which empowers refugee and migrant women from Afghanistan.

Shahrbanu Haidari

A third speaker from the Forum for Development, Culture, and Dialogue for Lebanon and Syria is expected but could not be confirmed at press time.

Moderating the webinar is Dr. Peter Makari, who serves as the global relations minister for the Middle East and Europe with the Common Global Ministries Board of the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), a position he has held since 2000. Makari is also an active participant in national Jewish-Christian and Muslim-Christian dialogue initiatives and represents the UCC and Disciples on the Faith Forum for Middle East Policy and is a board member on the Churches for Middle East Peace.

The webinar follows up on a regional consultation held in Rome earlier this year. Alethia White, co-regional liaison for Northern and Central Europe and session participant, noted that the consultation was a major first step to bring partners together on the issues surrounding migration. The webinar is the next logical action to continue their work.

“Migration has been and will continue to be a major theme in the work of the PC(USA). The Middle East and Europe office has been working closely with regional partners and groups, such as the Southern Europe Partnership Network, to lift up the challenges faced by those forced to leave their homes,” said White. “The Rome consultation was a major undertaking to bring together partners around issues related to migration, including addressing its root causes. This webinar is the next step in continuing our work together as we dig deeper into the call to stand in solidarity with people on the move.”

Co-sponsors of the webinar include the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy (FCEI), the Reformed Church in America, and the Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ.

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