The first fall Forum on the Future, “Immigration: Accomplishments and Challenges” will begin at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 5, at Jewett Hall on the UMA campus.

The event will be presented by the University of Maine at Augusta College of Arts and Sciences and the UMA Senior College with the intent to examine the effects of and responses to immigration in the state.

Carla Dickstein, Ph.D., is senior vice president for Research & Policy Development at Coastal Enterprises Inc., a community development finance institution based in Brunswick. Dickstein oversees CEI’s state policy work and develops new CEI initiatives. Current priorities include improving opportunities for new Americans and other groups who are not fully participating in the labor force, promoting policies that create quality jobs, as well as encouraging the development of high-speed broadband throughout Maine.

A report she coauthored, “Building Maine’s Economy: How Maine can Embrace Immigrants and Strengthen Maine’s Economy,” led to building a coalition and developing legislation this session to support immigrant integration into the workforce.

Kristin McLaren holds a Ph.D. in the social scientific study of religion from the University of Ottawa in Canada, and is a social science lecturer at UMA. Her recent publications relate to the immigrant experience. As an immigrant to Maine herself, she has always thrived working in intercultural contexts and is a proud supporter of the Capital Area New Mainers Project’s to support a healthy, diverse community in and around Augusta. She is a board member and family mentor team leader with this organization. She and her family live in Winthrop.

The third speaker is Ahmed Al Abbas, an immigrant from Iraq who worked as an interpreter for the American military in Baghdad. He learned English from American movies and working with Americans. In fact, because he helped Americans, he and his family were severely threatened; and for that reason he managed to obtain an immigrant visa to come to this country.

As his family’s primary source of income, he works in home care, is a successful small business owner in Lewiston, and has another part-time job at J.S. McCarthy. Though already college educated in Iraq, he has completed an American high school equivalency. He now explores opportunities for an American college degree.

The program will be moderated by Chuck Acker, chairman of the Forum on the Future Committee and former chairman of the UMASC Board of Directors.

For information, email [email protected] or call 621-3551.

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