UND’s International Studies Program Announces a Roundtable Discussion on Grand Forks as a Global Community: Being an Immigrant and New American in North Dakota

Document Type

News Article

Publication Date


Campus Unit

School of Law


In light of recent events in Grand Forks the next event in the International Studies Speaker Series is especially timely. Exploring “International Human Rights on the Local and Global Stage,” the third event of the Spring 2015 series focuses on Grand Forks as an international community. The roundtable discussion will feature speakers who work with immigrants and New Americans on a daily basis. Their direct experiences with the people who leave their homes, arrive in a new location, and transition to new ways of life provide the speaker series with the viewpoints of people as they experience a key human rights in the United States. This session seeks to create a forum to understand the “human” dimension of human rights.

The Roundtable Participants Include:

  • Sabrina Balgamwalla, UND School of Law. Professor Balgamwalla’s expertise is in immigration, gender, and labor; she has worked throughout the country as an immigrant rights activist.
  • Nabil Suleiman, UND Associate Professor of Civil Engineering. Professor Suleiman is also the president of the Grand Forks Islamic Center and works with Muslims living in Grand Forks.
  • Darcie Asche, Grand Forks Refugee Resettlement, Lutheran Social Services. Ms. Asche is the Community Liaison for the organization in Grand Forks that works with refugees and immigrants in helping them to transition to life in Grand Forks.
  • Reggie Tarr, Case Worker, Grand Forks Refugee Resettlement, Lutheran Social Services. As a New American and case-worker himself, Mr. Tarr has personal experience with the human dimensions of what it means to be an immigrant and New American.
  • Cynthia Shabb, Director of the Global Friends Coalition. Dr. Shabb oversees the efforts of Global Friends to bring together people and organizations in working with immigrants and New Americans through mentoring programs and community events.

In keeping with the strategic vision of an ExceptionalUND, the International Studies Speaker Series provides opportunities for students, faculty, and the community to gather and collaborate. The roundtable will be held downtown at the Backstage Project of the Empire Arts Center from 7:00-8:00 PM in order to bring these University events directly into the Grand Forks community. A catered reception will precede talks beginning at 6:30. By providing time to meet and mingle in a public space before and after the lectures, we hope to encourage prolonged discussions and avenues for future collaborations between and within the University and the community.

The series has been made possible through the generous support of UND’s College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures, the Department of History, and the Women and Gender Studies Program.