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Race, Refuge & Border Justice

Hear two perspectives on racism and xenophobia in U.S. refugee policy.

E. Tendayi Achume is a UCLA law professor. She was named UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, becoming the first woman and the first person from southern Africa to fill the role. Edafe Okporo is a Nigerian author and activist. The New York Times called his book “Asylum” “a disquieting account that humanizes a nameless, faceless multitude entangled in an issue with no clear end in sight.”


E. Tendayi Achiume is the inaugural Alicia Miñana Professor of Law at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law, a research associate of the African Center for Migration and Society at the University of Witwatersrand, and an extraordinary professor in the department of jurisprudence at the University of Pretoria. She is also the former UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance. She was the first woman to serve in this role since its creation in 1994. In 2023, she was appointed commissioner to the O’Neill-Lancet Commission on Racism, Structural Discrimination, and Global Health.”


Edafe Okporo is the author of the book, ASYLUM: A Memoir and Manifesto. He brings a personal commitment to his refugee work. He migrated to the United States in 2016 as an asylum seeker and is now a refugee in the United States. He is a global gay rights activist, the founder of Refuge America Inc, and one of the country’s most visible voices on the issue of displacement. Edafe is among the inaugural winners of the David Prize, which honors individuals with bold visions for creating a better and brighter New York City.


Shannon Gleeson is the Edmund Ezra Day Professor in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations and a professor in the Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy. Her recent books include Scaling Migrant Worker Rights: How Advocates Collaborate and Contest State Power and Precarious Claims: The Promise and Failure of Workplace Protections in the United States. She has also examined the implementation of the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Sponsorship: This lecture is supported by a gift from Jennifer Koen-Horowitz ’93 and Mark Horowitz.

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Start Date: April 26, 2023
Start Time: 11:30 pm
Location: Kennedy Hall