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Keystone College to host The Gathering featuring local panel discussion on refugees and immigrants

The Gathering PanelLa Plume – For the 13 consecutive year, Keystone College will celebrate “The Gathering” from July 12-14 on campus.

The Gathering is an annual three-day symposium on creativity and imagination featuring performances, lectures, discussions, and workshops. This year’s event, “Refugees and Immigrants: Who are They and Who am I?” will discuss why many Americans, most of whom are descended from immigrants or refugees, favor closing the door on them now. The symposium will examine statistics regarding immigrants’ cultural and economic contributions to the United States, immigrants and crime rates, and whether Americans have a special responsibility to take in people whose lives have been threatened in their homelands.

Speakers include Gail Carson Levine, an award-winning children’s author and poet, who will talk about the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492, and Ilya Kaminsky, an award-winning poet and immigrant from Russia; and others who have been refugees or immigrants or who work on their behalf.

The event will also take on a distinctly local flavor during the panel discussion, “Welcome Home: How NEPA Helps Refugees from Around the Globe Settle in their New Country” on Sunday, July 14 at 9:15 a.m. in Evans Hall in Hibbard Campus Center.

The panel will feature local educators who have organized a group that welcomes refugees and immigrants to the area by helping them to get settled, find work, and register their children in schools. Panel members include Sonya Sarner, program manager at Catholic Social Services for the Diocese of Scranton; Bonnie Alco, Ph.D., former director of the international studies office at Marywood University and linguistics professor at the University of Scranton; Marilyn Pryle, an English teacher at Abington Heights High School and organizer of an English language learning group for local refugees; and Erin Keating, Ph.D., chief of leadership development and school operations in the Scranton School District.

Gail Carson Levine

Ms. Carson-Levine is best known for her novel, “Ella Enchanted,” which won a Newbery honor medal in 1998. Other books include the historical novel, “Dave at Night,” and the two nonfiction how-to books, “Writing Magic, Creating Stories that Fly,” and “Writer to Writer, From Think to Ink.” Her latest novel is “Stolen Magic,” the second in the mystery series that began with “A Tale of Two Castles.”

Mr. Kaminsky was born in Odessa, in the former USSR. He came to America in 1993, when his family was granted asylum by the United States government in order to receive treatment for his deafness.

His most recent book, “Deaf Republic,” was released earlier this year. He is the author of “Dancing In Odessa,” which won the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Metcalf Award, Whiting Writers Award, Lannan Fellowship, and other honors.

Other presenters at The Gathering include Nancy Isenberg and Chris Boian.

Ms. Isenberg is the author of “White Trash: The 400 year-old Untold History of Class in America.” The T. Harry Williams Professor of History at Louisiana State University, she has won The Los Angeles Times book prize, the Oklahoma Book Award for Nonfiction, and other awards and citations for her work.

Mr. Boian is spokesperson and senior communications officer for UNHCR, the United Nations’ refugee agency. Based in Washington, D.C., Mr. Boian engages with journalists, policymakers, scholars, companies, non-profits, faith leaders, philanthropists, social media influencers, and others interested in an ongoing public conversation about the causes of and solutions for forced displacement of human beings around the world. A former journalist for the International Herald Tribune and Agence France-Presse, Mr. Boian has lectured on international affairs in the United States and abroad.

For more information or to register, visit thegatheringatkeystone.org or call (570) 561-5962.