2020 OLLI fall symposium focuses on global displacement

Symposium seeks to increase understanding of the challenges of forced displacement globally and in the United States.
Symposium seeks to increase understanding of the challenges of forced displacement globally and in the United States.

The OLLI at UNL/Winter Lecture Series Fall 2020 Symposium “Global Displacement: Political Conflict and Climate Change” features four leading experts and will be presented Saturday, Oct. 17, 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m., live streamed on Zoom. The symposium is $10 per person and the event is open to the public. Registration is required and can be made online at olli.unl.edu or by call the OLLI office at 402-472- 6265. OLLI membership is not required.

In 2019 at least 150 million persons felt compelled to leave their homes because of political or socio-economic reasons outside the bounds of legal migration. Some were fleeing war, other violence or persecution. Then there were those fleeing absence of economic opportunity or natural disaster, often linked to climate change. As a result, there was growing demand for an increased international response by public and private agencies. This half-day symposium examines this pressing problem.

The symposium begins with an explanation of the numbers and reasons for forced migration involving refugees, internally displaced persons, asylum seekers and those feeling no choice but to flee fragile societies or failed states—often because of the ramifications of global warming.

“The goal of the symposium is to increase our understanding of the challenges of forced displacement confronting the global community and in the United States,” said Dee Aguilar, OLLI coordinator.

This year's speakers will address the causes of global displacement and its effects on human migration, and the role of various nation-states and international organizations.


Leah Zamore, senior policy analyst at the Center for International Cooperation at New York University. She covers a range of issues, including refugee policy, humanitarian response and conflict prevention. She comes to CIC most recently from Brasilia, where she worked as a special advisor to the government on refugee and humanitarian affairs. She has also served as a visiting professor of international human rights law in São Paulo, and as a non-resident human rights fellow at Yale Law School.

Viviane Clement, climate change specialist in the Climate Change Group at the World Bank. She is a co- author of the report “Groundswell: Preparing for Internal Climate Migration.” She also currently works on several initiatives on climate change adaptation mainstreaming, including on climate and disaster risk screening and associated tools, and supporting country clients to integrate climate risk considerations in national and regional development planning processes.

Dr. Kanta Kumari Riguard, an environmental specialist and regional climate change coordinator in the Africa region of the World Bank Group. She is a leading expert on climate adaptation and resilience. She will address global patterns and specific areas of the world including the United States. Kumari Rigaud led a multidisciplinary team on the Bank’s pioneering flagship report on “Groundswell – Preparing for Internal Climate Migration” and on the report series “Turn Down the Heat," which looked at climate science and development impacts.

Elizabeth Ferris, research professor with the Institute for the Study of International Migration at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. From January-September 2016, she served as Senior Advisor to the UN General Assembly’s Summit for Refugees and Migrants in New York. She has written extensively on refugee, migration and humanitarian issues. Her newest book is “Refugees, Migration and Global Governance: Negotiating the Global Compacts,” co-authored with Katharine Donato.

Agenda for the Day
9-9:20 a.m. – Welcome
9:20-10:10 a.m. – Leah Zamore

10:10-10:20 a.m. – Break

10:20-11:10 a.m. - Vivienne Clement and Kanta Kumari Riguard
11:10-11:20 a.m. – Break

11:20-a.m.-12:10 p.m. – Elizabeth Ferris
12:10-12:30 p.m. - Closing