Serving and Learning from Our New Neighbors in a Multicultural Environment

A unique conference sponsored by UVM’s College of Education and Social Services for student practitioners, faculty, and professionals across disciplines who work with Vermont’s immigrant and refugee communities.”

Wednesday February 16, 2011

3:30-7:00 PM

UVM  Davis Center, Silver Maple Ballroom

Vermont has become home to more than 5,000 refugees and other immigrants during the past 30 years.  Our new neighbors often arrive here as English language learners who are not yet familiar with American culture. Whether or not immigrants choose to come to the US, their first experiences here can be overwhelming and challenging.  This often involves contact with service providers and educators who are well meaning but might not know about their culture of origin, needs, or how to best help.

On February 16, 2011 students, faculty, and community professionals in education, social work, and counseling will have the opportunity to learn directly from the diverse voices of Vermont’s immigrants, refugees, and English language learners at Serving and Learning from Our New Neighbors in a Multicultural Environment. This is the second annual Symposium on Diversity and Intercultural Awareness sponsored by UVM’s College of Education and Social Services (CESS) Dean Fayneese Miller, UVM Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Wanda Heading Grant, the Committee on Diversity Initiatives, and Dr. Janet Bossange and the University Committee on Teacher Education. It will take place on Wednesday February 16, 2011 3-7 PM at UVM’s Davis Center, and is open to all.

Conference Goals:

  • To increase awareness about the experience of refugees, immigrants, and English language learners,
  • To recognize the diversity of voices within our community, and
  • To honor refugee, immigrant, and English language learner stories without imposing the cultural values of the majority.

Students, faculty, and community professionals are all invited to attend. The conference will open with a keynote talk by L. Michelle LeBaron, Professor of Law and Director of the University of British Columbia Program on Dispute Resolution. Professor LeBaron specializes in cross cultural conflict and resolution.  Following this, a group of panelists with diverse experiences as voluntary immigrants or refugees will share their stories of living and working in Vermont.  After these presentations, students, faculty, and professionals will have the opportunity to break into groups to discuss community based professional practice concerns. The afternoon’s events will be enriched with the music of the West African band “Africa Jamono” (Africa New Generation) and some refreshments.

Serving and Learning from Our New Neighbors in a Multicultural Environment is free of charge and open to all UVM students and faculty, as well as community professionals. No advanced registration is required. Certificates of attendance will be available for some professional groups who require CEU’s for professional licensing requirements.  For more information about the conference, please contact Cynthia Reyes at

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