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AUS holds second annual undergraduate student conference
The International Studies Student Association (INSA) in collaboration with the Gulf Studies Center at American University of Sharjah (AUS) held its second annual undergraduate student conference entitled "Migration, Identity and Belonging in the Changing World," on Sunday, April 20, 2014.
The conference had undergraduate students from New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD), Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi and AUS participate and served as a collaborative platform for students to share their undergraduate research and allowed them to discuss issues relating to the topic of migration.
Conference organizers noted that as a global phenomenon, migration has always been present, yet is now occurring at an accelerated pace, due to a greater desire or need for mobility. A variety of push and pull factors contribute to migration and can be categorized into several distinct types: economic, political, social and environmental. The conference looked towards this phenomenon and discussions explored the complex relations between migration, identities and inequalities in reconfiguring the current social, cultural and political context of the Middle East, North African and South Asian regions and beyond.
Dr. Mahmoud Anabtawi, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, welcomed the participants at the conference and said that it was an excellent opportunity for all the students to present and exchange their ideas, meet new people and initiate collaboration.
Also welcoming the attendees was Dr. Stephen Keck, Head of the Department of International Studies. "This is a day to open conversations. It's a day for us all to learn new things from multiple perspectives. This conference is at once the fulfillment of a well-crafted student initiative and a wonderful example of how students and faculty can collaborate to produce an exciting and vibrant event. In fact, successful student conferences represent the future of liberal arts education. Students apply what they learn in our classes to improve not only their research and presentation skills, but to get the experience of leadership, which serves to educate the whole person," said Dr. Keck.
The keynote speakers at the conference were Dr. Nathalie Peutz, Assistant Professor of Arab Crossroads Studies at NYUAD, and Dr. George Naufal, Assistant Professor in Economics at AUS. Dr. Peutz spoke about "(Im)mobilities Abjection and Hope in the Western Indian Ocean," while Dr. Naufal focused on "The Economics of Migration in the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries."
INSA President Cherry Warburton said, "Today has been a great opportunity for us, as undergraduate students from throughout the UAE, to share our research and to learn from one another. We are grateful to all the students who presented, as well as to Dr. Peutz and Dr. Naufal who added unique and thoughtful perspectives, from anthropology and economics, to the topic of migration. This has been a real team effort of the Department of International Studies, and we hope to make this an annual event."