Description: For students, staff, and parishioners interested in learning about the Jesuits’ work with displaced people in Colombia, the recent threats to the Colombian Jesuit Provincial, and how to stand in solidarity with the people of Colombia in your school and parish communities!

Presenter: Jesuit Refugee Service/USA and special guest, Latin America Working Group

Speaker Bios:

Shaina Aber is Associate Advocacy Director for Jesuit Refugee Service/USA. Working to further Jesuit Refugee Service’s mission to accompany, serve, and defend the rights of refugees and forcibly displaced persons since 2006, Shaina has geographic responsibility for Latin America and the Caribbean, and sectoral responsibility for U.S. asylum, detention and deportation policies. In this capacity she makes frequent site visits to assess needs on the ground in all Latin American nations where JRS is operational, including Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and along the U.S. – Mexico Border.

During the summer of 2005, Shaina worked for the protection and resettlement units of UNHCR in Quito, Ecuador. In 2006 she was one of the lead members of a fact-finding investigation to Ecuador, where she collected data on the effect of U.S. anti-terrorism bars on the Colombian refugee population and co-authored a study in the Georgetown University Journal for International Law entitled Unintended Consequences: Refugee Victims of the War on Terror.

Shaina holds a Juris Doctorate and Special Certificate in Refugee and Humanitarian Emergencies from Georgetown University Law Center and is an attorney member of the Maryland Bar Association. Shaina earned a Bachelors of Arts, cum laude, in Latin American Studies at Macalester College, where she published an honor’s thesis on Race Relations in Cuba Before and After the Revolution.

Cara Pavlak is the Outreach Coordinator for Jesuit Refugee Service/USA. Cara joined Jesuit Refugee Service/USA in August 2011 as the second Jesuit Volunteer to serve as Outreach Coordinator. Prior to her position with Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, Cara spent her first year as a Jesuit Volunteer in Houston, Texas. In Houston, she worked closely with asylum-seekers and refugees as the Pro Bono Asylum Coordinator for YMCA International Services. Her work in this position inspired her to seek an advocacy position where she could advocate for fairer immigration policies.  Cara holds a degree from Trinity College in International Policy with minors in French and Human Rights.

Vanessa Kritzer is a Program Associate for Latin America Working Group and focuses her work on the Colombia, Mexico, and Guatemala campaigns. Vanessa has been committed to changing U.S. policy towards Latin America since she participated as an international observer in El Salvador’s 2004 elections and saw the effects of U.S. influence first hand. In 2007, Vanessa lived in the Dominican Republic, where she worked in solidarity with the women’s empowerment organization Tú, Mujer to develop a youth project that used peer-to-peer education as a way to improve everyday problems. Before coming to LAWG, she worked as a Head Organizer for the DNC field campaign during the 2008 elections. Vanessa graduated from Vassar College with a degree in Latin American and Latino/a Studies and Political Science

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