The topic of this year’s Business Trends Forum of the Russian-Speaking Professional Network will be “From Refusniks to Dreamers – Past, Present and Future of the American Immigration Policy.”
The forum hopes to draw parallels between the Refusnik movement, which paved the way for many immigrants from the former Soviet Union, to escape religious persecution and find new economic, political and social opportunities in America, and immigrants from all over the world, coming to the United States today, seeking the same opportunities that many Soviet Jews sought in the 1980s and early 1990s, but facing a continuous struggle for equality, recognition and basic Civil Rights.
The forum will examine the past, present and future of immigration in the United States from varied perspectives and will include view points from former Refusniks, members of the Philadelphia Soviet Jewry Council, leading academics, social activists, business leaders and legal practitioners. The keynote address, discussing the perspective on immigration from our neighbors, will be delivered by the Honorable Carlos Giralt, the Consul General of the Federal States of Mexico in Philadelphia.
The forum is organized by the Russian-Speaking Professionals Network of Greater Philadelphia (RSPN) in conjunction with HIAS Migration Services of Pennsylvania, the National Museum of the American Jewish History and the American Jewish Committee – Philadelphia Regional Office.
Speakers and Presenters include:
Panel I –”Refusnik Movement –The Struggle Behind the Curtain – Right to Choose a Place to Live”
• Lisa Hostein, Executive Editor, Jewish Exponent, Moderator
• Professor Igor Kotler, Museum of Human Rights Freedom and Tolerance
• Connie Smukler, Philadelphia Soviet Jewry Movement
• Marina Merlin, Refugee Resettlement Services, HIAS Migration Services of Pennsylvania
Panel II - “The Dream – Building a Life in America”
• Francois Ihor-Mazur, Esquire – The Law Offices of Francois Ihor-Mazur, P.C.; Moderator
• Peter Gonzalez, Esquire Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians
• Maria Sotomayor, Pennsylvania Immigrant Coalition (Dreamer)
• Professor Jon Grode, Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law
• Lenin Aguido, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, The City of Reading (Dreamer)
• Philippe Weisz, Esquire, Managing Attorney, HIAS Migration Services of Pennsylvania
The Honorable Kenyatta Johnson, Councilman, District 2, The City of Philadelphia, will deliver the endnote.
***Complimentary open bar and delicious heavy hors d'Oeuvres by Kuzina Hospitality Group!***