Third Annual Shifting Worlds Symposium

Engagement with Refugee and Immigrant Communities During A Pandemic: Collaborations, Challenges, and Resilience.

Event Dates: Friday, Nov. 5 (virtual via Zoom); The in-person sessions scheduled for Nov. 6 have been cancelled due to COVID-19.

Click Here to register your spot.

Co-Sponsors: UNCG Center for New North Carolinians, UNCG Institute for Community and Economic Engagement, UNCG Office of Leadership and Civic Engagement, UNCG Lloyd International Honors College, UNCG Office of Student Success, UNCG Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, UNCG Coalition for Diversity in Language and Culture, UNCG Office of International Programs Kohler Award, Duke Service Learning, Association for Immigration and Refugees Service Professionals (ARSP), Justice and Policy Studies Department at Guilford College, and the Center for Principled Problem Solving and Excellence in Teaching at Guilford College


***All sessions (panels/roundtable/individual presentations) will be held via Zoom on Friday, Nov. 5***

Conference Information

There are more than 100 participants registered from 16 organizations/institutions. Please note that the November 6 in-person sessions have been cancelled due to COVID-19.

Schedule at a Glance

Please find attached the abbreviated schedule.

Schedule and Access

If you know anyone still interested in attending, please share the link to the google registration form with them. You can find the program here. All sessions will be recorded.

Research Workshop

This workshop will cap external participation to the first 20 people who register. You must be registered for the symposium in order to register for the workshop.

Dr. Cristina Santamaría Graff and Dr. Aurora Santiago-Ortiz will lead this workshop and provide suggestions to the CNNC’s “Guidance for Engaging Immigrant and Refugee Communities” rubric. Registrants are expected to actively participate in the discussion.

Many communities are accustomed to the drive-by volunteer or researcher who appears among them for a short time to fulfill a course requirement, conduct a study or other obligation, and then abruptly departs without attention to reciprocity. Repetitions of this dynamic erode trust with those affiliated, working, or researching with these communities. It is incumbent on scholars and researchers to clearly articulate their investment capacity, intentions, and responsibilities to the community. This would entail ethically communicating mutual expectations and timelines, including entry and exit strategies, to avoid perpetuating the harm of extractive approaches.
In collaboration with researchers and practitioners, the CNNC Fellows and staff have created a rubric as a starting point and guidance for engaging with immigrant and refugee communities.

This rubric does not aim to duplicate the efforts of institutional IRBs or Community Advisory Councils with regard to research practices. The aim here is to suggest and encourage best practices for reciprocity and power-sharing between researchers and communities. These questions are not meant solely for vetting, but to encourage reflection about best practices for ethical engagement with immigrant and refugee communities.

Opening Keynote Speaker – Dr. Cristina Santamaría Graff

Our keynote speaker for the event is Dr. Cristina Santamaría Graff, Assistant Professor of Special Education, Urban Teacher Education (Ph.D., University of Arizona, 2009) at IUPUI. She has expertise in bilingual/multicultural special education and applies her skills in working with Latinx immigrant families of children with dis/abilities in family-centered projects. Her scholarship focuses on ways community-engaged partnerships with families and other stakeholders can transform inequitable practices impacting youth with disabilities at the intersections of race, class, and other identity markers of difference.

Specifically, her work focuses on “Family as Faculty” (FAF) approaches in special education programs that position community stakeholders’ knowledge and knowledge-making as central to the process of transforming systems.

Currently, Cristina is one of the editors for the journal, Multiple Voices for Ethnically Diverse Exceptional Leaners and an Associate Editor for the International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education (QSE).

She is a recipient of several community engaged awards affiliated with her implementation of FAF approaches in her teaching and research including the Ernest A. Lynton Scholarship of Engagement Award (2019), American Educational Research Association (AERA) award for Exemplary Contributions to Practice-Engaged Research (2019), the Brian Douglas Hiltunen Award for Community-Engaged Research (2019), and the Charles R. Bantz Chancellor’s Community Scholar Award (2018).

Closing Keynote Speaker – Dr. Aurora Santiago-Ortiz

Our closing keynote speaker is Dr. Aurora Santiago-Ortiz. Dr. Santiago-Ortiz obtained her Ph.D. from the Social Justice Education program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2020. She is an interdisciplinary scholar of community-based, participatory action research and critical methodologies; anticolonial, queer, feminist, and antiracist social movements; and decolonial feminisms. Her dissertation entitled “Collaboration, Collective Agency, and Solidarity Through Participatory Action Research in Puerto Rico,” qualitatively and ethnographically examines the collaborative relationship among those engaged in participatory action research (PAR). PAR is an epistemology and methodology that seeks to transform the lifeworlds of those engaged in this form of inquiry. Santiago Ortiz explores how students, community partners, and herself negotiate their collaborative relationship, produce non-Eurocentric forms of knowledge, and resist neoliberal austerity measures that threaten Puerto Rico’s public university and overall socioeconomic well-being of the archipelago. Her work has been published in the peer-reviewed Michigan Journal of Community Service Leaning, Tracce Urbane: Italian Journal of Urban Studies, Chicana/Latina Studies, The Abusable Past, Society and Space, Zora, and El Vocero newspaper.


Submit your work to New American Migration: A Journal of Research, Praxis, and Application
Are you interested in submitting your work for publication? All presentations accepted to and presented at the symposium will be treated as having gone through the first round of peer review, and presenters will be encouraged to submit their work to the journal New American Migration: A Journal of Research, Praxis, and Application. Formal submissions will be circulated for a second round of anonymous peer review. For more information about submitting entries to the journal contact the journal editors at


Download a PDF version of the flyer here to send to your networks!