The Interculturalist’s Role in the Refugee’s Journey

  • 13 Apr 2022
  • 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM (EDT)
  • Zoom Meeting - Eastern Time (US)


  • Fee for non-members provides event access and all available resources for the webinar.
  • FREE to all SIETAR USA Members in good standing.

The Interculturalist’s Role in the Refugee’s Journey

A panel discussion featuring: Teni-Ola Ogunjobi, Sylvia Cowan,
Carina Black, Ph.D., and Melissa AB Graetz

Moderated by Russanne Bucci

The plight of refugees is spotlighted by recent events in Ukraine as well as the pull-out from Afghanistan. Interculturalists have been working with refugees throughout the past decades. What have they learned from their research and front-line experience? What can we expect going forward? How can we help? A panel of interculturalists who have studied and worked with refugee issues will present lessons learned from their experience with time for questions and discussion.

Registration = FREE for current SIETAR USA members in good standing

Registration = $25.00 for nonmembers

Your Moderator and Panelists

Russanne Bucci, Moderator has been a teacher, trainer, community organizer, and ESL tutor for Cambodian refugees in both Detroit and Philadelphia. The common thread is her commitment to improving intergroup relations and to being an advocate for social justice. Russanne won a national award for part of her public radio series about DEI issues called “A World of Difference.” Her Masters in Education is from the University of Pennsylvania. In 2015 Russanne became a foster parent to a girl from Eritrea, an Unaccompanied Refuge Minor (URM). Most recently she has established the Art of Group Conversation.

Teni-Ola Ogunjobi, a Georgia native and Nigerian, is influential in the nonprofit and NGO sector, community mobilization, volunteer management, intercultural education, grassroots development, business management and communications/journalism. With a BA from Howard University, and an MA from University of the Pacific, Teni-Ola is an International Conflict Management PhD student at Kennesaw State University. She currently heads communications and community outreach for an organization providing COVID-19 and other disaster relief services in Georgia.

Sylvia Cowan, Ed.D., consultant, coach, international conflict facilitator, is passionate about her work with refugees and immigrants. With two decades of research between Cambodia and refugees in Lowell, MA, she and colleagues published Southeast Asian Refugees and Immigrants in the Mill City (Pho, Tuyet-Lan, Gerson, Jeffrey N., Cowan, Sylvia R., Eds.)  Cowan’s research on trauma after genocide, “Silenced by Trauma,” with Christiane Alsop, recently appeared in Douglass, Trauma in Adult and Higher Education (2022). Dr. Cowan directed the Intercultural Relations Master’s Program at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA for fifteen years.  She is currently writing a book on refugees and Sanctuary.  

Carina A. Black, Ph.D., Executive Director, Northern Nevada International Center, is a native of Argentina and a citizen of Switzerland and the US. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Nevada, Reno in 1997 in Comparative Politics. She is the first Executive Director of the Northern Nevada International Center, an organization that manages public diplomacy programs funded by the US Department of State and USAID.  In 2016, Black initiated a new project to resettle refugees in Northern Nevada. Faculty member at the University of Nevada, Reno, Dr. Black has taught courses in global studies, world politics, comparative politics, democratization, international organizations, and Latin American politics. She is also actively involved in international education for the local community, and support programs for minority groups.

Melissa AB Graetz works in the intersection of culture, community engagement, and education.  At Syracuse University she studied music and the importance of culture to build a sense of belonging. She then took this experience to American University where she researched social entrepreneurship, instructional design, and the refugee resettlement process. Melissa has developed training and educational tools to support the understanding and development of how we practice building community and finding a sense of belonging in those communities. Melissa is currently the Client Engagement Manager for MSM Global Consulting and the Co-Program Chair for the 2022 SIETAR Conference. She lives in Broomfield, CO. 

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