University of San Francisco Symposia an Refugees, Forced Migrants and Academic Global Engagement
Jane Pak, Board of Directors, Refugee Transitions EdD Candidate, University of San Francisco
Throughout her career, Jane has worked to enhance educational access and quality, and improve circumstances for children and families by coupling her business, analytical, and strategic planning background with her passion for education and social justice. Within the context of forcibly displaced populations, she is keen to understand the intersection of newcomer and receiving communities here and abroad, and effective models that support positive integration that uplift entire communities. Most recently, Jane worked as Director of Strategy and Development at Refugee Transitions where she currently serves on the board of directors. Jane holds a BMATH from the University of Waterloo (Canada), MBA from Clarkson University, MA in International Educational Administration and Policy Analysis from Stanford University, and is currently pursuing an EdD in International and Multicultural Education at the University of San Francisco. Jane also serves as a regional representative for Human Rights Educators USA.
Joyce Arellano-Bravo, Program Coordinator, Refugee Transitions
Joyce joined Refugee Transitions (RT) in August 2015 as the After-School Program Coordinator at San Francisco International High School in the vibrant Mission District. She has over 13 years of ESL and ELL teaching experience, and has taught at the elementary, junior, and high school levels. Prior to joining RT, Joyce spent over 10 years in Japan, where she obtained the bulk of her experience in education. As an immigrant herself, she is especially passionate about working with the recent immigrant youth who comprise the student body at SFIHS. Joyce received a BA in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations, and a BA in History from the University of California at Berkeley. She was a candidate for the CalStateTEACH Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from the California State University at Monterey Bay from 2001-2002.
Lana Radosavljevic, Employee Services Associate, Upwardly Global
Lana Radosavljevic is an Employee Services Associate at Upwardly Global, a nonprofit that helps skilled immigrants, refugees, and asylees overcome employment barriers and restart their professional careers. She holds a BA in Psychology, an MA in Organizational Leadership, and serves on the board of the Refugee Center Online, which provides free online resources to newcomers. Lana has over 10 years of experience of working with multicultural populations in the education and nonprofit sectors. A former refugee herself, she is passionate about helping this population adapt to live in the United States.
Diana A. Otero, Program Director, Refugee and Immigrant Services, Catholic Charities BIA Accredited Representative
Born and raised in Colombia, Diana immigrated to the U.S. in 1999. In 2001, she joined Catholic Charities Refugee and Immigrant Services. Diana is a highly motivated bilingual Program Director with more than 16 years of experience in immigration law. She is fully accredited by the Board of Immigration Appeals, giving her legal authorization to represent clients in court. Utilizing her journalism and communications background, she has been the voice for many immigrants as she represents their stories on TV and in print. She hosts a monthly segment on Univision that provides information and resources on current immigration issues. Additionally, she has been involved in community organizing, as well as advocacy efforts, in the fight for comprehensive immigration reform. An expert in the immigration field, she conducts immigration training workshops and empowers community partners to get involved. She serves as an immigration consultant for the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office and as a board member for Bay Area Gardeners Foundation, a nonprofit that provides scholarships to low-income students. Diana hopes to continue her work for the advancement of the immigrant community.
Katrin Welch, MFTA Intern, Center for Empowering Refugees and Immigrants (CERI)
Katrin Welch is a Transpersonal therapist who got her start with refugees on the Thai-Burma border. Working to help young Karenni people find a way out of the refugee camps, she realized that few people want to leave their homeland, family, and way of life; they do it because they have to. Katrin now partners with CERI, offering support groups, individual counseling, and case management to Cambodian refugees suffering from severe PTSD and social isolation. Her emphasis is somatic, mindful, and outdoor based interventions. Katrin feels that as a lifelong citizen of the US, she can be a good host to those who come here due to circumstances outside of their control. Katrin got her MA at Naropa, a contemplative university, and is also a meditation teacher. She holds the view that refugees are not a "population" who need charity; they are her herself. With the expansion of this view, she hopes that new, equitable partnerships will be possible.
Maryam Ghofraniha, Head of Global Partnerships, LinkedIn for Good
Maryam Ghofraniha is the Head of Global Partnerships for LinkedIn’s social impact group, LinkedIn for Good (LIFG). She manages LIFG’s relationships with nonprofits, private entities, and government partners across various initiatives with a focus on the refugee and youth employment sectors. Maryam leads LinkedIn’s Welcome Talent program, working to connect refugees to economic opportunity around the world. Prior to LinkedIn, Maryam led private-public partnerships for Google’s social impact group in emerging markets, where she launched products that leveraged Google’s technology in the disaster response and environmental sustainability sectors. She co-founded PacHope, a nonprofit aimed at supporting the local San Francisco homeless community, and she serves on the board of Oasis for Girls, a nonprofit advocating for women and girls from under-resourced communities in San Francisco.
Sandra Lee Fewer, Supervisor for District 1, San Francisco Board of Supervisors
Sandra Lee Fewer is a fourth generation Chinese American San Franciscan. In her early years, Ms. Fewer served in numerous roles in support of public education including PTA President and school councils. In 2001, Ms. Fewer joined Coleman Advocates for Children as Director of Parent Organizing and Educational Policy. Her experience in leading workshops and training parents on their rights led to her election to the San Francisco Unified School District School Board where she served two terms. In 2010, Ms. Fewer strengthened her political voice as an elected official for the Democrat Party. Her role in shaping education policy and as an activist for families in San Francisco made her a strong candidate for the 2016 Board of Supervisors, District 1, a neighborhood she has proudly called home for over 50 years. In 2017, Supervisor Fewer led the successful effort to create a new immigrant legal defense unit within the public defender’s office to provide direct legal aid for undocumented immigrants.
Dr. Chiara Peri, Administrator Centro Astalli Foundation - Jesuit Refugee Service
Dr. Chiara Peri is the Programming and Advocacy Director at Centro Astalli, the Italian branch of Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS). She has more than 17 years of professional experience in refugee service with a recognized expertise in asylum, reception, international protections in Europe. Dr. Peri was instrumental in developing Centro Astalli’s Community of Hospitality Project which engages Rome-based religious institutions to host refugee people and families. Through Dr. Peri’s efforts, Centro Astalli provides innovative practices for refugee hospitality and integration in Rome, Palermo, Catania, Trento and Vicenza. Dr. Peri holds a master’s degree from Sapienza University Rome and a Ph.D. from the University of Turin. She is the author of two books and 21 articles.
Meron Semedar, Master's student in International Studies, refugee from Eritrea
Meron Semedar is a graduate of University of San Francisco’s Master in International Studies. He is a co-founder of Unity for Tertiary Refugee Students, a nonprofit to help African refugees in South Africa enroll in college. At USF, he started a student club — Student Outreach for Refugees, Asylees, and Immigrants. When Meron was 19, he slipped away from an oppressive regime in Eritrea, became a refugee in Sudan and South Africa. Many of his Eritrean friends were drowned in capsized boats crossing the Mediterranean to Europe, or were held for ransom or killed by human traffickers on the way to Israel. He ended up applying for and being granted asylum in the United States. Committed to continuing his work on behalf of refugees, Meron enrolled in USF’s Master's in International Studies program to learn more about human rights and world affairs.
Fr. Stephen Privett, S.J, University of San Francisco Chancellor
Fr. Stephen Privett, S.J., began his tenure as the fourth Chancellor of the University of San Francisco in August 2015. Fr. Privett also serves as the Assistant to Higher Education and for Social Ministries to the Jesuit Provincial Superiors of the California and Oregon Provinces. Previously, he was the 27th president of the University of San Francisco from Sept. 2000–Aug. 2014. Throughout his career, Father Privett has demonstrated a commitment to “whole person education,” a traditional hallmark of Jesuit education. At Santa Clara, he helped establish the Eastside Project, a program that has received national recognition as a model program for community-based learning.
Dr. Marco Tavanti, MNA Program Director
Dr. Marco Tavanti is an international development scholar whose experience stretches over 25 years and whose work has taken him to more than 18 countries in Europe, East Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America. Dr. Tavanti’s teaching in sustainable development, leadership ethics, intercultural diversity, and NGO management is grounded in Jesuit values and his scholarship is an embodiment of the University’s mission to be of service to humankind. Professor Tavanti is the Nonprofit Administration Program Director.Dr. Tavanti is a systems thinker whose scholarship aims at providing practical and integrated solutions to issues in international development and poverty reduction. His research methods are participatory in nature and directed at building international capacity in leaders, organizations, and institutions. Through his teaching he inspires globally engaged leaders while building professional capacity through international managerial skills across sectors.
Mary Steiner, Vice President UNA SF
Mary Steiner has served as the chair of multiple UNA SF events and programs, including the 70th UN DayCelebration held in San Francisco in 2015 at the San Francisco War Memorial and Peforming Art Center, and the UN 71s Anniversary Celebration in 2016 held at Fort Mason. Her expertise is developing international educational programs.
Galina Fedorova, Co-founder of Gooddler, Partner of UN Compact for Young People in Humanitarian Action
Galina Fedorova is co-founder of Gooddler. Gooddler is a fast and simple solution for civic and charitable organizations around the world to collect and manage goods donations. Rather than donors blindly giving money, unsure of how their dollars are being spent, they are able to purchase specific items through local retailers for the charitable organizations they support. Local retailers win with a boost to their businesses, those in need win by receiving items they truly need, and donors come out on top by being able to take control of how they contribute. Gooddler is a parter of the UN initiative, Compact for Young People in Humanitarian Action.