E. Tendayi Achiume (left), Edafe Okporo and Shannon Gleeson will speak at an April 26 event focused on asylum policy in the U.S. Achiume is a noted attorney, Okporo is a refugee and author and Gleeson is a member of the faculty in the ILR School and Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy.

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Attorney and author to discuss the law and the reality of asylum

A prominent refugee and author and a renowned legal expert will discuss racism and xenophobia in U.S. refugee policy when they keynote “Race, Refuge & Border Justice” on Wednesday, April 26 on the Cornell campus.

Edafe Okporo is the author of “ASYLUM: A Memoir and Manifesto.” He brings a personal commitment to his refugee work as he migrated in 2016 as an asylum seeker and is now a refugee in the U.S.

E. Tendayi Achiume is the inaugural Alicia Miñana Professor of Law at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law, a research associate of the African Center for Migration and Society at the University of Witwatersrand, and a professor in the department of jurisprudence at the University of Pretoria.

The program will be moderated by Shannon Gleeson, the Edmund Ezra Day Professor in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations and a professor in the Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy.

The in-person event begins at 7:30 p.m. in Call Auditorium at Kennedy Hall. This lecture is supported by a gift from Jennifer Koen-Horowitz ’93 and Mark Horowitz.

“Given that we are a country of immigrants, it is really important that all of us be sensitized to the policies, trends and realities of immigration,” said Rosemary Avery, a professor in the Brooks School and one of the event’s organizers. “Edafe and Tendayi will bring a deep understanding of U.S. refugee policy and what is necessary for our country to remain a land of opportunity and freedom.”

More about Edafe Okporo:

He is a global gay rights activist, the founder of Refuge America Inc, and one of the country’s most visible voices on the issue of displacement. Okporo is among the inaugural winners of the David Prize, which honors individuals with bold visions for creating a better and brighter New York City.

More about E. Tendayi Achiume:

She is also the former UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance. She was the first woman to serve in this role since its creation in 1994. In 2023, she was appointed commissioner to the O’Neill-Lancet Commission on Racism, Structural Discrimination, and Global Health.

More about Shannon Gleeson:

Her recent books include Scaling Migrant Worker Rights: How Advocates Collaborate and Contest State Power and Precarious Claims: The Promise and Failure of Workplace Protections in the United States. She has also examined the implementation of the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.


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