Past Event

Crossing the Darien: Migration to the US

April 5, 2023
4:30 PM - 6:30 PM
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Altschul Auditorium, International Affairs Building 420 West, 118th Street, New York, NY 10027

Panel discussion on migration to the US featuring the work of photographer Federico Rios. 

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Federico Rios- Federico Rios Escobar, born in 1980, is a regular contributor to the New York Times and his photos have been published in magazines such as Der Spiegel, GEO, Stern, Paris Match and National Geographic. His focus is Latin America: for many years, for example, he reported on the civil war in his home country of Colombia, among other things for Amnesty International.

Rios Escobar has won prestigious awards in different countries such as Germany, Japan, and the USA. One of his books was included in the collection of the New York Museum of Modern Art, and he has had exhibitions in Brazil, the United States, Lithuania, and the Netherlands.

Elora Mukherjee- A globally recognized advocate, practitioner, and voice for immigrants, asylum seekers, and unaccompanied migrant children, Elora Mukherjee is the director of the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic at Columbia Law School. Since founding the clinic in 2014, she and her students have traveled to both sides of the Mexico-United States border. In 2015, they were the first pro bono counsel representing individual asylum seekers—all mothers and children—at a newly opened detention center in Dilley, Texas, which she described as a “deportation mill.”For more than a decade, Mukherjee has worked on issues related to enforcing the Flores Settlement Agreement, which sets a limit on the length of time children can be detained in federal immigration custody, requires that they be held in the least restrictive area possible, and guarantees access to basic hygiene and adequate nutrition. 

In 2019, Mukherjee’s firsthand reports of the inhumane conditions of confinement for children in a U.S. border detention station sparked national and international outrage as she gave extensive media interviews on what she had witnessed. She was invited to testify before Congress, where she detailed for the House Committee on Oversight and Reform how children in border detention centers were sick, dirty, frightened, separated from family members, and held as victims of federal policies that she argued were unconstitutional, unlawful, ineffective, and un-American.

Mukherjee began her career as a clerk for Judge Jan E. DuBois of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and then won a fellowship with the ACLU Racial Justice Program. From 2007 to 2010, she worked at a law firm, specializing in police misconduct, prisoners’ rights, housing, and employment discrimination, and then rejoined the ACLU as a staff attorney until 2013.

Mukherjee regularly collaborates with other immigrants’ rights advocates on strategic litigation, legislative reform, grassroots activism, public education, and coalition building. She serves on the boards of the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project, Project Amplify, and the Refugee Reunification Project.

Nara Milanich- Professor of History, joined the faculty of Barnard in 2004. Her scholarly interests include modern Latin America, Chile, and the comparative histories of family, gender, childhood, reproduction, law, and social inequality.

Professor Milanich teaches courses ranging from the Modern Latin American History survey to a comparative seminar on the Global Politics of Reproduction. She works closely with PhD students in Latin American History at Columbia.  Professor Milanich has also taught in and directed the Masters in Latin American Studies (MARSLAC) based in the Institute for Latin American Studies.

Her research and scholarship have been supported by the Fulbright Commission for Educational Exchange, the Social Science Research Council, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Unesco, and the American Council of Learned Societies. 

Professor Milanich writes and publishes in both Spanish and English.

Daniel Naujoks- Focuses primarily on issues related to international migration and development and homeland-diaspora relations. He further concentrates on international development, transnational studies, gender, the economic impact of migration, normative citizenship theory, diverse societies, as well as on questions of inclusion and exclusion in host countries.

He has published widely on the effects of migration on social, economic and political development, ethnic identity and the role and genesis of public policies. His book ‘Migration, Citizenship, and Development. Diasporic Membership Policies and Overseas Indians in the United States’ (2013, Oxford University Press) examines how country-of-origin citizenship affects migrants activities and attitudes, such as naturalization, remittances, investment, philanthropy, return migration, political lobbying, and transnational belonging.

Daniel has been working on development, migration, and population affairs at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), EC-UN Joint Migration and Development Initiative (JMDI), the UN Population Division, UNICEF and the International Labour Organization (ILO). He also serves as the Research Coordinator for the Organisation for Diaspora Initiatives (ODI), New Delhi. The regional focus of his academics is South Asia, the U.S. and Europe. However, he has conducted analyses and led projects in South America, North and West Africa, as well as in South-East Asia. Daniel holds a PhD in political science and political economy from the University of Münster and a law degree from Humboldt University in Berlin.

Nadja Drost- a Pulitzer Prize and Emmy Award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker who works across print, radio, television, and documentary film. Based in New York following a decade in Bogotá, Colombia, she continues to report from Latin America, often as a Special Correspondent for the PBS NewsHour.

Her reporting on the extraordinary journey of migrants from around the world who traverse the Darien Gap — a road-less, mountainous jungle straddling the Colombia-Panama border —  to reach the U.S., won various accolades. A longform piece she wrote for the California Sunday Magazine was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing, as well as the Michael Kelly Award, first place for Magazine Feature Writing from the National Headliner Awards, and the One World Media Refugee Reporting Award. A television series, ‘Desperate Journey,’ she reported with videographer Bruno Federico for the PBS NewsHour, was recognized with an Emmy and Peabody award, and received the Best in Show for television from the National Headliner Award in 2021.

Nadja also makes documentary films- she independently produced the award-winning Between Midnight and the Rooster’s Crow (2005), and is currently in the sixth year of production with  Bruno Federico on Alias La Mona, a feature documentary about a FARC guerrilla fighter and mother who lays down arms in Colombia’s peace deal. Their PBS NewsHour series, ‘Fighting for Peace’ on Colombia’s FARC rebels was awarded an Overseas Press Club Award for Best Reporting on Latin America in 2017.

Nadja’s stories have been published in Maclean’s Magazine, TIME, GlobalPost, Al Jazeera America and The Globe and Mail among others, and heard on CBC Radio, the BBC, Radio Netherlands Worldwide and Deutsche Welle Radio. The Devil Underground, an investigation into how gold mining has fueled Colombia’s armed conflict, was published by The Atavist, and is available as a Kindle Single. A story she produced with Radio Ambulante won the Premio Simon Bolívar, Colombia’s premier journalism prize, in the radio documentary category. Nadja is a graduate of the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. She is from Toronto.


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