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Refugees & Migrants: Trauma-Informed Approaches to a Changing World

  • Center for Multicultural Education & Programs (CMEP) 60 Washington Square South Room 806 New York, NY 10012 (map)

In a changing world where people are at increased risk of emergencies, human rights violations and psychological & physical harm, it is our duty as global citizens to respond to the need for quality mental health responses and improved access for those who are most vulnerable. This symposium brings together researchers and practitioners working to understand and alleviate these traumas for migrants.


Join for a short film screening, catered networking lunch, and panel of esteemed practitioners and researchers:

Maria Fernanda Andia | Mfa (they/she) is a queer non binary immigrant, organizer, artist and facilitator from the Andes. Currently, as the Immigration Support Coordinator at The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center, they coordinate services for the socioeconomic empowerment of LGBTQ immigrants & asylum seekers. Their focus in this role is program development, connection to services, case management, facilitation, and more recently worker cooperative education. Her work is grounded in the healing power of interdependence and joy generated by and within community.

Jessica Dalpe, LMSW is the Women’s Protection and Empowerment (WPE) Technical Advisor for the United States at the International Rescue Committee. In her role as WPE Technical Advisor, Jessica supports IRC’s 26 refugee resettlement offices in achieving positive outcomes for women and girls. Jessica started her work with IRC in 2015, serving in a variety of positions including Program Officer for Mental Health, and Intensive Services Social Worker in the Elizabeth, NJ refugee resettlement office. Jessica is a licensed social worker with a wide range of experience working with immigrants and foreign-born survivors of violence. Before joining IRC, she worked with various international NGOs and local community based organizations coordinating services for survivors of torture and serving refugee and immigrant women and children affected by domestic and family violence. She holds an MSW with a global concentration from Fordham University and a BA in Psychology from The College of New Jersey.


Ifrah Mahamud Magan, PhD is an Assistant Professor and Faculty Fellow at the Silver School of Social Work. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Chicago's Jane Addams College of Social Work, and also holds an AM from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration and a B.S. degree from Michigan State University. Dr. Magan is the recipient of many awards including the Kathryn W. Davis Peace Award, Rights of the Child Award from the University of Chicago’s Young Center for her advocacy work on behalf of Unaccompanied Undocumented Immigrant Children, University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Abraham Lincoln Fellowship, and UIC’s Dr. Martin Luther King Service Award.

With over a decade of professional experience in refugee and immigrant communities, Dr. Magan’s primary research agenda focuses on the lived experiences of refugees and their resettlement and integration processes. In doing so, she utilizes an intersectional lens to gain an understanding of the complexities associated with forced migration narrative and the ways in which racial, ethnic, national, religious, and gender identities impact migration. In her dissertation, "Stories of Somali Refugees in Chicago: Exploring Roots and Routes of Migration”, Dr. Magan carried out an in-depth qualitative interview with Somali-Americans who arrived in the United States as refugees. She utilized a phenomenological method of inquiry to explore the migration paths of Somalis, and in particular, how ethnic, racial and religious identities impact their resettlement and integration in the United States. Her other research interests include the effect of immigration policies and executive orders on refugees and immigrant communities in the United States, access to health and mental health services amongst Muslim and refugee communities, community-centered research models, and indigenous methodologies.

In addition to her academic work, Dr. Magan has served as an advisor to various refugee community centers in the United States and has traveled internationally to present on issues related to refugee resettlement and integration. She’s also the co-founder of the Rohingya Cultural Center in Chicago. Dr. Magan was born in Mogadishu, Somalia and lived in Egypt for nearly ten years prior to resettlement in the United States. She is deeply inspired by Islam and the rich tradition of poetry and storytelling in Somali culture. Dr. Magan is fluent in Somali, Arabic, and English.


Nancy J. Murakami, LCSW has extensive direct practice, program development, and training experience in the fields of trauma and refugee mental health and psychosocial wellbeing. Ms. Murakami is founder and clinical supervisor of a psychosocial support program in Nyakabande Refugee Transit Camp in Kisoro, Uganda, with the community-based organization Friends of Kisoro. Ms. Murakami is an adjunct assistant professor at New York University Silver School of Social Work and at Columbia University School of Social Work, where she designed and teaches a course on psychosocial support approaches with survivors of persecution and forced displacement. She is a D.S.W. candidate at NYU School of Social Work, where she also holds a graduate research assistant position at the Center on Violence and Recovery. She has recently held clinical and leadership positions at the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture in NYC and at Burma Border Projects in Thailand. Ms. Murakami practiced as a psychotherapist at the Safe Horizon Counseling Center in NYC, working with adult and child survivors of international human trafficking, domestic violence, and sexual violence. Ms. Murakami conducts live and web-based trainings domestically and internationally on topics including trauma-informed approaches, refugee services, social work approaches with survivors of torture and forced displacement, working with interpreters, and service provider wellbeing. She is co-editor of Trauma and Recovery on War's Border: A Guide for Global Health Workers, a book in the Geisel Series in Global Health and Medicine. Ms. Murakami served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi, Africa.


Zainab Suntai is a current MSW student at New York University Silver School of Social Work, who began her career in human resource management. Zainab grew up in the northern Islamic part of Nigeria but was privileged enough to move to the United States in 2010 to begin High School at an all-girls boarding school in Maryland. There, she developed a passion for business and went on to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from DeVry University in Orlando, FL. After working as a human resource manager, Zainab developed a passion for the helping profession as a result of the #MeToo movement and decided to change careers and pursue a degree in Social Work. After graduation, Zainab will be starting her doctorate degree in Social Work at the University of Alabama, while working part-time as a mental health worker in the on-campus children’s clinic. Zainab hopes to one day become a human behavior and research professor, as well as a therapist with a private practice.


This event is free & open to the public. A catered networking lunch will be provided.