Elon Law students invited to UN event on immigration & refugees

Five students in the Class of 2018 completing their residency-in-practice with the law school’s immigration clinic took part in the #JoinTogether Conference of higher education institutions at the United Nations in New York City.

Elon Law students and faculty traveled to New York City this week for a United Nations summit of higher education institutions from around the world gathered to discuss refugee and migrant issues.

The #JoinTogether Conference on June 7, 2018, included presentations and panel discussions from experts and educators who provided updates on current projects at their institutions aimed at protecting and supporting refugees.

Assistant Professor Heather Scavone, director of Elon Law’s Humanitarian Immigration Law Clinic, was part of the conference lineup as a panelist for “Using Diplomacy to Rise to New Global Challenges.” The panel featured Daniël Prins, chief of the Conventional Arms Branch in the Office for Disarmament Affairs at the United Nations.

The second-year Elon Law students taking part in the summit are finishing their spring trimester residencies-in-practice with the law school’s Humanitarian Immigration Law Clinic. In remarks shortly before leaving for New York City, all expressed an interest in further developing their understanding of immigration and refugee issues around the world:

  • Tracy Tamaeka Preville: “I hope to learn new and innovative ways to help refugees already in the U.S. and to network with other student attorneys on ideas they have for the future as it pertains to refugees in the U.S.”
  • Olivia Ann Matte: “The UN together Summit is aimed at encouraging university participation in helping refugees. I hope to meet other students around the world that share a similar interest in immigration law. I also hope to become educated on the different ways that the UN is going to encourage community and university engagement in helping refugees so that I can support it.”      
  • Maryam Safia Khan: “I want to learn more about how higher education institutions can better advocate for indigent refugees and asylees in dire need of zealous legal representation. Through this summit, I also hope that we learn how to effectively communicate, respect, and represent our clients to the best of our abilities so that they may begin to rebuild their lives in the United States with peace.”
  • Gia Gaster Henry: “It has been really neat getting to hear the stories and getting to know the people who I have been serving during my residency. The experience of listening to my client’s stories, and understanding both their joys and their struggles, has prepared me for this fantastic opportunity because one of the aims of the summit is to change the negative narrative surrounding migration. We all need to hear a lot more of these stories to counter the negative discourse about immigrants, and immigration in general.”
  • Darrell Anthony Alexander Jr.: “HILC has prepared me for this opportunity by expanding my knowledge and awareness concerning immigrant issues and hardship. I plan to use this knowledge at the UN to dive deeper into this conversation to help change current policies.”

Participating Universities and Organizations in the June 2018 #JoinTogether Conference at the UN

  • Amsterdam University College, Netherlands – Right2Education
  • Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
  • Columbia University, New York City
  • Elon University School of Law, North Carolina
  • Fordham University, New York City
  • Guilford College, North Carolina
  • Leiden University, Netherlands
  • Montclair State University, New Jersey
  • Rutgers University, New Jersey
  • Temple University, Pennsylvania
  • Universidad de Jaén, Spain
  • University of Massachusetts, Boston
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Virginia
  • Wesleyan University, Connecticut
  • Ryerson University – Emerging Scholars & Practitioners on Migration Issues (ESPMI) Network
  • My University Cares Too

“I’m honored that Elon students have been invited to the United Nations to represent the Humanitarian Immigration Law Clinic at the UN summit,” Scavone said of Elon Law’s invitation to the #JoinTogether Conference. “All of the students who are participating in the summit completed residencies-in-practice in the clinic, where they represented refugees and asylum seekers with federal immigration benefits.

“It is particularly exciting to have their work culminate with a visit to the UN since much of their legal advocacy on behalf of clients occurs at the intersection of international and domestic law, where the UN Refugee Convention and the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act intersect.”