GLOBAL CONNECTIONS #10: [Special Episode] Supporting the Afghan Community





Podcast Transcript: Global Connections #10: [Special Episode] Supporting the Afghan Community

#10: [Special Episode] Supporting the Afghan Community 

Xiao Yun Sim 00:06

Produced by the Commission for global dimensions of Student Development ACPA and anchor. Global Connections aim to connect folks from all functional areas interested in cross cultural learning, development of intercultural competencies, internationalization, and student services around the world. Welcome to this episode of Global Connections CGDSD, the living room space where we invite our guests to share about their stories and narratives. For today’s special episode, we will be featuring our vice chairs of educational program and guest speakers to speak about supporting African scholars, students, refugee families and displaced students. Our first feature will be Anna-Kaye Rowe and Dr. Lisa Unangst. Anna-Kaye is a doctoral candidate pursuing higher education and student affairs at Ohio University and an instructor at the Global Leadership Center. She is a proud international student from Jamaica and also one of the vice chair of educational programs on the commission for global dimensions of Student Development. Dr. Lisa Unangst is a visiting assistant professor at Ohio University. Her research interests include higher education, access and experience among displaced populations, international Alumni Affairs and cross national constructions of diversity. She is the lead editor of the recent BBrill-Sense publication entitled Refugees and higher education: Trans-national perspectives on access, equity, and internationalization as well as the Director of the Millennium Scholars Program.


Anna-Kaye Rowe 01:59

Hello, Dr. Unangst, it’s so great to chat with you today about supporting Afghan students, and the role of Higher Education and Student Affairs. So let’s get into the questions today. So can you share with me a bit about your research on refugees and how your scholarly approach or perspective on this area has developed?


Dr. Lisa Unangst 02:20

Well, and okay, first of all, thank you so much for the invitation to be part of this conversation with you. I’m really excited to talk about this. And sure, a little bit about my research on displaced learners, and how I’ve developed that approach. So when I was in the year after my BA, I had the opportunity to go to Germany, with a fellowship from the German Academic Exchange Service. And as part of that fellowship year, I was working with someone who was a social worker in Germany, and one of her tasks was to operate what were called integration classes, for a particular category of immigrants to Germany, these people were called ethnic Germans, and they received different levels of financial support and other types of support from the German government. So I spoke with I spoke with him a few times. And as part of that, you know, ongoing conversation, I began to realize that I really didn’t know enough about how immigration is structured, in comparative context. And over the next several years, because I was working in higher ed full time, I started thinking more and more and reading more and more about what this meant in terms of educational access and educational outcomes, understanding that the range of types of displacement, according to legal status, which is often arbitrary, really looks different in different countries. And that those different statuses mean very different things in terms of how students are supported at the secondary level, in the transition to the tertiary level, and then how they’re supported once they’re enrolled in college and university, and ways that my approach has shifted in the last few years. You know, I think, since beginning my doctoral program, and now working as a researcher, one of the things that I’ve come to realize is that there’s a real tension around coloniality, and displacement and education. And I think that we almost can’t emphasize enough how the colonial lens is, is really relevant to the way that programs and processes are structured, how institutional level policies are structured, and also national level, even regional level policies, in some cases, so, so I have moved further and further into working with a decolonial lens. And I think that’s yeah, that’s probably How I would summarize that.


Anna-Kaye Rowe 05:01

Excellent, thank you so much. The last part you shared is just so important about looking at a lot of this scholarship from a decolonial point of view. And I’m interested in your thoughts on the ways in which higher education perhaps could do with emphasizing and understanding this more integrated into the curriculum. Are you seeing any movement in this direction? And how do you approach your teaching in this regard?


Dr. Lisa Unangst 05:27

Well, it’s a wonderful question. I think. I think that, you know, looking at this in comparative context, I would say that there are many different approaches to decolonizing, the curriculum. One question, let’s just take the United States for an example that we might look at is, how many programs how many degree programs are there in fields like critical migration studies, or refugee studies that really begin from a critical perspective, and consider displaced learners, displaced communities, as co researchers, right co learners, that these are really foreground and participatory approaches to research, scholarship, teaching service, all of it? In general, I think we can say that work in this area is emerging, right? There’s a lot of work to be done. And perhaps I can speak a little bit about ways that I see institutions as having a role for thinking about the current displacement of Afghan refugees in the United States ways that institutions might have a role in supporting those learners. I think that there are, you know, there are a number of ways that institutions can approach supporting Afghan refugees. And these range from more to less resource intensive. So one way that’s really free, I think, that institutions could look to be doing this is by making admissions and financial aid information available in Pashto and also Daughtery. So that it’s readily accessible to prospective students, as well as their families and support networks, as they’re thinking about trying to get in college or university. So this would mean translating information on a website, it would mean creating handouts, all the kinds of admissions collateral that we see right on college and university websites, we can think about there being state level websites, hubs for information about the colleges and universities in that state that again, might be available in these languages. So one place that students would go to to get all the information that they need, instead of having to find out the names of individual institutions and then go searching. I think that we can also consider from the perspective of student activism, things like student ambassador or mentorship programs, whereby enrolled college students who aren’t necessarily from displaced backgrounds, serving as mentors to refugee backgrounds, students, perhaps in local high schools, or those who are recently out of high school and thinking about going to college. This sort of work exists in lots of places. The University of Texas Austin has an established mentorship program for refugee background students in Austin, Texas. And I think, you know, one thing that’s just become available this week, if we want to think even broader in terms of student activism, the State Department has announced this week that it is going to allow private sponsorship of Afghan refugees in the United States. What this means is that groups of I think it’s five individuals in the US can come together, attend training, commit some resources, and say, Yeah, we are going to be responsible for supporting an Afghan refugee in the US on a medium to longer term basis. Information about this program is available through community sponsorship And, you know, in other national cases, for example, Canada, students have bound together to support refugees coming to Canada and pursuing study in Canada. And some cases they’ve levied taxes upon themselves in order to support that resettlement. So this might be a way that students in the United States could think about having a direct impact.


Anna-Kaye Rowe 09:30

Thank you. Excellent resources. I really appreciate you sharing these practical resources. And it’s so good to hear about that private sponsorship opportunity that the State Department has spearheaded. This is excellent. And, you know, there’s so much that we need to do when it comes to psychosocial support. This is really a volatile. It’s really a challenging time for students and individuals in Afghanistan, but also the students who are from Afghanistan who are currently in the United States, studying or working or living. Can you share anything that you have seen or institutions that are doing any work in this area to support current students? Considering what is taking place? You know, what I do know, from a mental health point of view from the point of view of families being torn apart and not being feeling helpless as an international student, or as someone who is from Afghanistan and not feeling like you can do anything to help? Do you have any examples of institutions or perhaps specific higher ed contexts that are really doing very well, good work in this regard?

Dr. Lisa Unangst 10:34

Thank you. Yeah, you know, I think this is a space that nonprofits play a major role in the United States. So because of limited resources on college and university campuses, limited resources at the secondary school level, nonprofits have taken a role in supporting displaced students who are looking to access higher ed and then supporting them once they’re involved. Now, many of these groups work to support immigrants broadly understanding refugees, as part of that sort of umbrella categorization. We might point to nonprofits like in the Boston area, that Mira coalition. So that would be the Massachusetts immigrant and refugee Advocacy Coalition, the IRC is also active in the United States. And I think that supporting these types of nonprofits that really sort of buffer the effect of constrained resource environments at the secondary and tertiary levels, that’s also a way that people can have a direct impact and supporting psychosocial supports for displaced learners.


Anna-Kaye Rowe  11:45

Excellent. Thank you so much. And I know there’s so many cases of higher ed institutions that are doing a fair job and been very responsive, also been very proactive. And we really applaud those efforts to support students. Another observation, you know, in preparing for these interviews was, we had to also factor the emotional toll that this has taken on Afghan students and Afghan faculty as well, because sometimes we don’t talk about faculty and staff and all of this and what they’re also going through with trying to get parents and family outside of Afghanistan. So it’s really holistic. And we do have to think big picture. But are there any thoughts that you have about, or one thing that you would like to share with hiring professionals who are engaged in this work of supporting students during challenging times? Like what we’re seeing in Afghanistan at the moment?


Dr. Lisa Unangst  12:36

Thanks, Anna-Kaye, I think what I would say is, there is enormous space for innovation at this very moment. And there are some standout programs that can serve as reference points for folks who are wanting to push their campuses forward. One program that might be interesting for folks to look at is the new Arizona State University Afghan Scholars Program. This program has welcomed applications from scholars, journalists and researchers who have either left Afghanistan already or planning to leave to request an academic appointment at the University for one year with the possibility of renewal. You know, it’s not entirely clear from the outside exactly what the logistics of this look like, or the funding streams. But, you know, this sort of initiative in combination with a work that, for example, scholars at risk has done for many years. I think this offers to us emerging best practice a path forward.


Anna-Kaye Rowe  13:45

Absolutely. Thank you so much for sharing those, and I believe there, there’s opportunities for collaboration. There are opportunities to look at institutions that are doing very well, and there’s scope to model those practices across institutions. I know at Ohio University, we are familiar with a lot of initiatives that the War and Peace Studies Program has spearheaded panels that many of our own professors Dr. Sandel and many other faculty have been part of panels, you know, at our institution, but also at other they’ve been invited to speak on be so we have experts, we have professionals and Student Affairs who have been involved in this work. And it’s so encouraging to see how we are working together to best support these students. Do you have any final words for us? Before we go today?


Dr. Lisa Unangst  14:31

Just want to encourage everyone to think about the interventions in this space as really ranging from very low resource to, of course, high resource right that there there are a range of ways to make a difference here. And I’d love to speak with anyone who has thoughts questions, wants to brainstorm. I hope that everyone thinks about what would work best in their own context and know that you have lots of resources out there to serve to stop partners in that process?


Anna-Kaye Rowe  15:01

Thank you. And it brings me to a question. And I know we’re winding down soon. But what would you say to folks who may perhaps think it’s a little bit too late, you know, this has been going on for a while. I don’t want to seem like I’ve ignored this issue. You know, and while it’s ongoing, you know, there’s this idea of being immediate, like, if you don’t do something within 30 days, then it’s sort of still news. However, it’s an ongoing issue. What would you say to folks who think I don’t want to see my cat ignored? This might be a little bit too late for me to do anything. And I think what you share, just know that there are still ways to support what would be your response to that?


Dr. Lisa Unangst  15:36

Well, you know, I think I would say, Absolutely, it’s true, right that displaced people have entered the United States from its creation. But as higher education institutions have become more and more internationalized as technology has allowed us to pursue different types of innovations, that means that the space, the space is changing, right, for how displaced learners can be supported by small and large institutions. What’s happening right now, in terms of Afghan refugee resettlement is really just beginning to unfold. There are many people who are still on military bases, haven’t yet been resettled into local communities. It’s going to take many people some time to work on, for example, English language skills, until they’re ready to, you know, apply to a two or four year institution. So there, there certainly is going to be a series of waves of application to higher education institutions by Afghan refugees. There’s plenty of time to innovate


Anna-Kaye Rowe  16:45

Absolutely I couldn’t have said it any better. Thank you so much. Really powerful charge really excellent way to end. Thank you so much, Dr. Unangst, this has been such a wonderful conversation. It’s always a pleasure talking with you. And thank you so much for agreeing to do this for the commission. And I know we’ve all been challenged and informed today. So thank you so much for joining us.


Dr. Lisa Unangst  17:06

Thank you so much, Anna-Kaye, I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day. Thank you. 


Xiao Yun Sim  17:12

Our next feature is Jennifer Figueroa and Dr. Diep Luu. Jennifer works as the Director of International Student Services at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. She’s made her career working with international students and immigrants, as she loves traveling food and languages. She currently serves as one of the vice chair of educational programs for our commission and enjoys hiking and spending time with her daughter. Dr. Diep Luu is currently the Director of Student Advising and success at Babson College. He’s our higher education scholar and practitioner and has over a decade of experience working in higher education. He earned his PhD in higher education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His dissertation examined the role of community cultural wealth in college access and transition among students from refugee backgrounds. His research focuses on college success, transition and equity and student success among students from refugee backgrounds and other undeserved student populations. His work has been published in several journals, including the Journal of comparative and international higher education, higher education policy, the comparative education review and Studies in Higher Education.


Jennifer Figueroa  18:25

Dr. Luu, thank you so much for chatting with us today about supporting students in transition.


Dr. Diep Luu  18:32

Thank you for having me, Jennifer. 


Jennifer Figueroa  18:33

Great. I am so excited about everything that we can cover today. So we can just dive right in with a few questions for our listeners. So here goes. First question is what do you believe would be the best way that institutions can support Afghan students and other refugee or students in transition?


Dr. Diep Luu  18:54

First of all, to support Afghan students and other students from refugee backgrounds, institutions must be aware of the student population on their campuses. In my research, and in the literature, students from refugee backgrounds, often reported that they felt invisible on the college campuses, even though being a refugee is a salient part of the identity. From my personal experience in higher education. I felt the sense of invisibility when I was a college student myself. I come from a refugee background. I was born in Vietnam, and my family and I came to the United States as refugees in the aftermath of the Vietnam War. However, in college, I often heard stories about immigrants, but not necessarily specific to refugees. There weren’t any programming events and supports with specific to refugee students, my refugee identity was subsumed under my other intersecting identities, such as first generation, low income, Asian and Vietnamese American. So it starts with answering this question. Do you know who you are refugees students are on your college campus. Unlike international students, refugee students in the United States are permanent residents or naturalized citizens. As a result, these students are not tracked like international students who are on a student visa. Once institutions have identify students from refugee backgrounds on the campuses, then then the next step is to be intentional providing support and creating a welcoming environment for these students, where they are included in diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and programmings. As a forefront identity group and not an afterthought, or not even included at all, higher education institutions should create opportunities for students from refugee backgrounds to share their stories and connect with others who share their intersecting identities. For example, African refugees on us campuses will likely become racialized as Middle Eastern, many of them have a salient religious identity as Muslims, and may have different levels of English language proficiency. In addition, my own research, identify that the experience of flight which means cleaning or attempting to escape one’s home country, not by choice, but due to persecution, conflict of force displacement, can be a traumatic experience. So taking a trauma informed approach to a work as educator is crucial, not just for the student population, but for our student.

Jennifer Figueroa  21:26

Thank you so much that gives us so much to think about and to go on. And I appreciate you sharing more about your background as well today. Absolutely. Our next question for you is what is something from your institutional experience, whether that’s work or research that you or your team did to help alleviate this issue? This could be done internally or externally facing? Any examples are welcome.


Dr. Diep Luu  21:58

First of all, I think that research create visibility. In fact, that’s how you found me in the first place to have this compensation. I mean, that practitioners are going to read peer review journal articles all the time to help be there. But when I was working on my PhD, my colleagues on campus would ask me about my dissertation. A lot of the feedback I received was that they thought that this was a timely and important topic. Many of those combination revealed that we could be working with students from refugee backgrounds without knowing I think that these conversations were first to create awareness. From there, I work with the chief diversity officer and their team to revise the transition to college seminar for first year students to enhance and expand the topic of diversity and self identity. In the section that I use for students to talk about this show show identities, including national origin, I myself would model the conversation by first sharing with the students my refugee identity in hopes that students would bring their authentic selves to the conversation, I learned that there was a student from a refugee background in my class, and she appreciated the opportunity to reflect on this identity and share with a classmate, so often overlooked in the curriculum in programming was an attempt to fill this gap.


Jennifer Figueroa  23:23

Thank you so much. That’s really, really important work that you’re doing and being able to increase visibility for these students.


Dr. Diep Luu  23:32

Thank you.


Jennifer Figueroa  23:33

What is one thing that you wish that higher ed professionals knew about supporting students in such a unique transition?


Dr. Diep Luu  23:41

One thing I wish that high Ed professional knew about supporting students in transition is that when working with the student population, it’s important to take anti deficit and trauma informed approaches. It’s easy to focus on the refugee background as deficit rather than strength. This is not to say that the adversities and challenges are not real. They are indeed very real. Students from refugee backgrounds experience multiple transition from flight to potentially living in a refugee camp to resettlement in a host country. This diversity could include experiencing this record education, poverty, language barriers, discrimination, racism, xenophobia, and lack of social and cultural capital to navigate the educational system in the host country. However, my dissertation research highlighted the importance of acknowledging and validating the community cultural wealth that students from refugee backgrounds possessed this communal cultural wealth or assets that include linguistics, familial, social, navigational, resistant and aspirational capital. Students from refugee backgrounds are courageous and resilient, and they have high aspirations for themselves and their families in terms of educational and career attainment, not only to support themselves, but also to give back to their families and to make them proud. So it is important for high education professional to see the potential and set high expectation and not treating them as less capable because of their refugee backgrounds. At the same time, it’s important to provide the necessary support and mentoring this you needed to navigate college and live up to their full potential. As we know, we often talk about post traumatic stress when discussing students from refugee backgrounds. In my research, I found that refugee students do you experience stress and trauma, but also growth. In my dissertation, I wrote about intergenerational post traumatic transformation or, or IPT, which is the result of coping with intergenerational trauma and overcoming intergenerational obstacle that could lead to life changing transformation, not only for the students, but also for their families. I think this idea is very powerful to make sense, the experiences of refugees. We as refugees have to come so much just to access high education, it is only reasonable to expect that we can overcome and achieve more when given the appropriate support, resources and opportunities to thrive.


Jennifer Figueroa  26:20

Well, that really left me with a lot to think about terms of how we all can do more to best support refugees and students in similar transition patterns. Thank you so much, Dr. Diep Luu for joining us today to chat about students in transition. We hope this has been helpful for those listening to think about how we’re all supporting students in times of crisis. Dr. Luu is there anything else that you would like to add?


Dr. Diep Luu  26:47

Thank you, Jennifer. This has been a pleasure.


Jennifer Figueroa  26:50

Thank you so much.


Xiao Yun Sim  26:51

Our last feature is Gaurav Harshe and Christy Eylar. Gaurav is an international student from Mumbai, India. He is serving as one of the vice chairs for educational programs for our commission and is a master’s student at Florida State University where he served into assistantships at the Center for Global Engagement and at university housing. In the summer of 2021. He was awarded the Max and Peggy Becker Lifetime Volunteer Award by Colorado State University for his significant lifetime volunteer acts that have helped promote international education and understanding within the largest CSU and Fort Collins community. Gaurav is multilingual with two South Asian Indic languages, Marathi and Hindi. Christy Eylar is the Assistant Director for international students services at Colorado State University. She oversees immigration and advisory services and retention outreach for international students on campus. She studied abroad in Costa Rica, Mexico and Peru, and had served in the Peace Corps and conducted research in Bolivia. She has traveled extensively and had worked with international students and scholars from all around the world.

Gaurav Harshe  28:06

Thank you so much, Christy for joining us. My name is Gaurav Harshe he/ him /his pronouns. And we have Christy Eylar here who’s going to briefly introduce herself. And then also we have our first question that we have for her right after.


Christy Eylar  28:21

Yeah, my name is Christy Eylar. It’s a pleasure to be here with you today, Gaurav, so thank you for inviting me. I use she/her pronouns. And I am the Assistant Director for International Student Services at Colorado State University.


Gaurav Harshe  28:36

Awesome. So let’s get quickly to the first question without seeing any time. We have this question here. So what do you believe to be the best ways that institutions can support Afghan students and other populations and refugees and students in this transition phase? What do you have to say overall about this?


Christy Eylar  28:57

Yeah, I mean, I think I think flexibility is key when you’re looking at students coming from places like Afghanistan, or, or Syria or places where students may not have access to their credentials from their home universities. So just having some flexibility when you’re reviewing their applications is huge. Understanding that they also may not have access to some of the more traditional tests that students take. So considering things like Duolingo, which is more accessible to more students, is a great way to make your institution more accessible to Afghan students. There are some opportunities that I would give a shout out to through ie, the Institute for International Education. And if you take a look at their the IIE Peer website that it has, it is that stands for the platform for education in emergencies response there are scholarships being offered for students coming from the American University of Afghanistan, they are looking for additional scholarships to come from the institutions who are accepting those students. So if your institution is at all able to offer those kinds of scholarships, that’s a great way to support them. You can also just offer scholarships to any students that are coming through the IIE Peer website, you can say we offer such and such a scholarship for new students from Afghanistan, another way would to be open to connecting with scholars and IIE also offers opportunities for that they have a call, I think, I believe it’s called scholars at risk. And that’s a great way to connect Afghan scholars with faculty in the US to get them here so that they can continue to use and build their expertise, advocacy with NAFSA, I think whenever there are opportunities for us to make changes in in our country to make the US more accessible for these folks, you know, it’s good to be involved with that, to helping students connect with employers, if they’ve already graduated, or if they’re just trying to come to the US to work, I think that’s, that can be a huge resource, just helping them to talk to the right people are up there coming to study helping connect them with the right faculty, just, you know, offering that extra hand of support, I think, and being flexible with admission policies, if you’re able to offer housing, I think that’s a huge thing, too. I mean, often folks might be able to get here, but then they they have nothing what’s there here. So if institutions have residence halls or other housing that they may not be using, offering the basis up to folks who need them would would be a huge benefit. I think also just gathering resources, you know, educating yourselves on what’s out there, and what’s available, so that when you do and get inquiries, you can send those resources to the students who need them.


Gaurav Harshe  32:23

Thank you so much. Can you talk more about the advocacy piece you mentioned? How do you think folkx in the Student Affairs profession in general can advocate for this population in the right way? Or if there’s a right way?


Christy Eylar  32:38

Yeah, I mean, I think NASFA is pretty keyed in to those issues, and keeping us informed and letting us know, ways that we can advocate, you know, their policies that impact our ability to take in refugees from countries like Afghanistan. And so whenever there are chances to try and make that more accessible, I think we can have a voice on that.


Gaurav Harshe  33:06

All right. We just wanted to, you know, talk about advocacy as a piece as a tool if we can’t do much in our own positionality. That leads us to kind of our next question, which is, what is something from your institutional experience that you or your team did to alleviate this issue? And this can be either internal or external? If you have an example or two, we’d love to hear that as well.


Christy Eylar  33:31

Sure. So we have, through IIE offer the scholarship for Afghan students that would allow them to study at CSU at the resident tuition rate, which is a hefty discount compared to what an international student would normally pay. That’s one thing, we are pushing to be more flexible with reviewing those transcripts and accepting alternative documentation. So you know, that’s a huge thing, just finding out what can be available, how much how flexible can you be, and what can you offer, and you know, thinking outside the box may be pushing those limits when you’re thinking about these students. That’s what we’ve been trained to do. I also attended a webinar that was offered through the President’s Alliance on higher education and immigration. And I would recommend anyone interested in these topics to visit their website, they have a ton of great resources listed for students for refugees, all kinds of information that I think would would be really helpful. So taking a look at that the webinar was recorded, I believe, so I’m sure you can gain access to that as well. So we did have a couple of students impacted when things kind of went awry in Afghanistan. One was a new Fulbright who luckily was able to find a way to get to the US. And she’s happily here now, it took some maneuvering. But she’s here, and we’re very happy about that. There was an alumni of our in impact MBA program, who was back in Afghanistan and working and involved with the Afghan government and, and so became a target and his life and that of his family were in danger. And there was an alumni of the impact MBA program who became aware of his situation and just raised the alarm, and got a whole group of folks to rally behind the student coordinating efforts reaching out to all kinds of different folks to see what they might be able to help with. They started a GoFundMe page. And I should say the some of the individuals who work in the College of Business and the impacts MBA program, were key to those efforts. So I want to point out that it doesn’t have to be an international office, I mean, anyone can decide to get behind these students and help out. So eventually, this it was a touch and go situation, we’re all kind of biting our fingernails through the whole thing. But this family was able to make it to Poland, where they are safe now. And they have some resources, thanks to the GoFundMe page. So you know, if you if you have folks that you know, care about these issues, it’s not that difficult to rally help. You know, as part of that effort, we also reached out to our senators and state representatives to see how they might be able to coordinate the students exit of the country. I mean, it was just grasping at straws, trying to find everything that we could to help. So like I said, I attended that webinar, and I’ve been sharing that with any Afghan students who I know may have family who are not able to get out or looking to study in the US. I’ve just been, you know, reaching out to students to see how they’re doing, how their families are doing, what what do you need, are there any resources we could offer you, we’ve worked in connection with our Student Legal Services team to provide the sort of immigration expertise that goes beyond just f one and j one students. So connecting them with those resources has been key, and you know, just I have a list of names and organizations and folks that I know, have offered to help. So just having that available when when students reach out. And yeah, just tapping, tapping in to see how you how you can support efforts that already exist with what you are able to offer.


Gaurav Harshe  38:09

Thank you so much. Yeah, and I like your point about, you know, the international office doesn’t have to pull all the weight, if you know, somebody you are in office, or if you are a practitioner, or student affairs professional, that really wants to change something or, you know, brush the needle, you can do something about it with obviously the support that you have in your positionality there’s a national offices, obviously here and should be there to you know, support or guide you are, you know, assist you in different ways possible. But it’s almost I graduated a multi faceted approach to this problem, because it takes a lot of effort and not one person or one office can put all that effort or you know, pull all the strings together. See, I appreciate that and hearing that because he was the student was an acquaintance of mine very, very faintly, very from the car and they know him from his presence at Colorado State. I feel it for him. But it just it’s just difficult as we say, can you. Wrapping up, What is the one thing you wish higher ed professionals knew about supporting students or these populations in such a unique transition? And you talked a little bit about that. But what is something that you would say be an advice?


Christy Eylar  39:25

I think probably most of this audience would agree with this sentiment. But you know, I just I wish everyone who worked in higher ed or everyone who are creating the policies around the world could understand that, you know, these folks represent hope for their countries. They are very personally motivated to create real change and to make positive impacts in the world. Their talents and passions may never be realized if we aren’t willing to ask For a helping hand for them, and they will enrich rich our communities, they help make our classrooms and our communities just more diverse and beautiful. And really just the potential benefits of supporting their dreams and protecting their lives far outweigh the investment that you might make.


Gaurav Harshe  40:24

Thank you so much that that does resonate with me the line about you know, they represent hope. And that hope is what we should strive for healing. So I really want to thank you for joining me today and all our speakers that will be joining us today in this podcast, shine some light on this topic and you know, guide us in some way in their own way. So thank you again.


Christy Eylar  40:45

Thank you Gaurav.


Xiao Yun Sim  40:47

Once again, I want to thank our vice chairs of educational programs and guest speakers in sharing their expertise and resources in supporting the Afghan community. I also want to take the opportunity to thank you all for tuning to this episode. transcripts are available in our ACPA CGDSD website, or you can click on the link in the episode description. And I look forward to the next episode soon.