Ilana Ron Levey is a Co-Chair of ACCESS DC, the young professionals initiative of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) in the Washington D.C. area, and a member of the Global ACCESS Steering Committee (GASC).
For over 100 years, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) has considered issues of immigration- particularly to the United States and to Israel- as part of its core mission. Virtually all American Jews today are intimately familiar with the immigration experience, and its positive prospects for new beginnings and social mobility and its negative challenges of dislocation. Today, the AJC is a leader amongst American Jewish organizations in advocating for a comprehensive immigration reform vision that supports American growth by welcoming skilled and talented foreigners to our shore, and protects the rights of individuals fleeing persecution and oppression.
Likewise, through the AJC and our young-generation program, ACCESS, we are deeply committed to engaging with diplomats across the world and to building enduring relationships borne out of mutual respect, common interest, and shared responsibility. Our annual ACCESS DC Young Diplomats event honors this commitment by bringing young diplomats from over 60 countries together with talented young Jewish leaders to connect over a topic of mutual interest and importance.
On October 10th, we will come together at our annual Young Diplomats Event to speak about the challenges and opportunities of international migration. While the United States remains the most popular destination for migrants worldwide, with more than 45 million of the 232 million people defined by the United Nations as living abroad, diverse countries such as Germany, France, England, China, and South Africa are also experiencing major waves of migration. The topic of international immigration also includes the challenges posed by forced migration of millions from war torn areas, including the more than two million recently forced out of Syria- more than 10 percent of the population.
We should ask ourselves important questions about migration and its impact. What attracts or repels people from one country or another? What are the challenges and opportunities afforded by immigrant populations? Do democratic nations have the moral obligation to take in refugees in times of crisis? What do global populations look like in the 21st century?
There is no doubt that long term migration can change societies and how countries interact with one another. For example, the largest source of foreign income for countries like Russia or Mexico today is from migrant remittances. Today, there are 37 million Americans of Irish descent- and just under four million Irishmen in Ireland. These migrants changed the face of our country in the past, just as the faces of other countries around the world are changing today.
Please join us on October 10th at 1777 F Street to discuss this complex, timely, and important topic, together with young diplomats from around the world. We are honored to host three expert and diverse speakers, who approach this issue from the perspectives of American foreign policy, international advocacy, and trans-national policy. The panel will feature Manuel Orozco, Senior Associate at Inter-American Dialogue, Anne C. Richard, Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration at U.S. Department of State and Michael Werz, Senior Fellow at Center for American Progress.
For more information and to purchase a ticket, please visit www.ajcwashington.org/youngdiplomats2013.