CLAIR Academy: Advocating for Refugees & Immigrants is a summer virtual workshop hosted by Project CLAIR that is open to all students and adults wanting to learn more about the issues of refugees and immigrants worldwide.

The main goal of the workshop is to provide an inclusive, educational, and intrapersonal environment for individuals who want to expand their knowledge on refugee and immigrant experiences as well as institutional barriers during the resettlement process. This workshop will provide students with an opportunity to learn about refugee and immigrant issues through multiple perspectives from speakers, including refugees, professors, and immigrant/refugee center representatives. Topics of discussion will include the firsthand experience of the refugee resettling process, institutional and social barriers of refugee and immigrant education, volunteer opportunities to engage in empowering refugees and immigrants, and more.

Each speaker will give a lecture for 15 ~ 20 minutes regarding the topics and will each have 10 minutes of question time, where the participants can freely ask questions through the panel.

If you have any questions, email:


Sondra Anton

Ms. Antion is a student at Harvard Law School, where she serves as the co-president of Harvard’s human rights law student organization for 2021-22. She plans to pursue a career in international human rights and global justice, with specific attention to accountability in post-conflict societies, victim-centered advocacy and social justice movements. Before starting at Harvard, she received her Master’s degree in Politics and Comparative Government from the University of Oxford, where her dissertation focused on the agency of local and national actors in pursuing foreign human rights prosecutions.

Ms. Sondra Anton’s Topics:

  • Human rights
  • Institutional barriers to justice for refugees and immigrants
  • Law and refugee & immigrant crisis

Sahar Al-Nima

Ms. Al-Nima was born in Iraq and grew up in both Syria and Kuwait. She moved to the United States when she was 17, with her family. She later attended the University of Colorado, Boulder, to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities, with emphasis on Philosophy and Creative Writing. Currently, Ms. Al-Nima enjoys writing and works with the Colorado Refugee Speakers Bureau.

Ms. Sahar Al-Nima’s Keynote Lecture Topics: 

  • The issue of alienation
  • Resources available to refugees during resettlement process
  • Her firsthand experience of being a refugee in the United States

Dr. Othon Alexandrakis 

Dr. Othon Alexandrakis is an associate professor at York University, within the department of anthropology. He completed his Ph.D. at Rice University and specializes in migration and resilience in Greek societies. His most recent work focuses on youth migration to Greece, as he describes the struggles associated with immigrant and refugee integration and how resilience and government conflicts can arise from migration through his first-hand experiences.

Dr. Othon Alexandrakis’ Keynote Lecture Topics: 

  • The importance of resilience
  • Migrant integration in Greek society
  • The impact of migration on the country individuals are migrating to
  • The variety of experiences and accommodations given/faced by individuals upon resettling

Lia Kisel: JIAS Toronto

Ms. Kisel is a language & settlement director at JIAS Toronto, a Jewish organization that provides immigrant and refugee services to newcomers. They promote integration by connecting newcomers with other individuals in the community to build one’s social and professional network. JIAS Toronto also provides English language instruction, refugee sponsorship, translation, and notary public services, to immigrants and refugees.

Ms. Lia Kisel’ Keynote Lecture Topics:

  • JIAS Toronto’s role as an organization for refugees and immigrants
  • The common obstacles and challenges their clients experience
  • Her experience as a language & settlement director for refugees and immigrants
  • Resources the organization provides and how individuals can access similar resources


July 9, 2021 at 6 P.M. ~ 8 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time

18:00 ~ 18:10


18:10 ~ 18:35

Keynote Speaker 1 + Q&A Session

18:35 ~ 19:00

Keynote Speaker 2 + Q&A Session

19:00 ~ 19:05


19:05 ~ 19:10

Project CLAIR information session

19:10 ~ 19:35

Keynote Speaker 3 + Q&A Session

19:35 ~ 20:00

Keynote Speaker 4 + Q&A Session




Topic: Moving to a new country can be a journey filled with ups and downs. Describe a journey that you have endured, or how you would feel while moving to a new country (as an immigrant or refugee).

Prize: Amazon Gift Cards & Award Certificate 
Max: 100 words ~ 1,000 words
Format: Any style of your choice
  – formal/informal essay, poem, song, interview

Submission: on workshop registration page by July 7th 11:59 P.M. EDT
*The submission will be evaluated by our judges, and the winners will be announced on the workshop day.
*Writing short doesn’t mean less points. Try your best to write an impactful and creative writing piece.

Sofia Penttila “Lost In Translation”


Our green cards arrived from the U.S. state department,
And so we unpacked our bags and settled inland,
Into our small San Diego apartment,
That still smelled of Finland.


We moved into a house,
And switched the “ä” in our last name to an “a”.
As my parent’s accents began to smoothen,
I picked up English on the preschool playground.
“Your voice is silly,” they said,

“Why are you eating green pancakes?” they said,
“How come you don’t talk to others?” they said,
“Your not from here, are you?” they said.

We ate hamburgers,
And forgot the taste of mustikkapiirakka*.
Slowly the only trace of Finland,
Was in my grandmother’s eyes,
That glistened like,
Soumi’s* ten thousand lakes,
Just one Skype call away.

We adopted a dog,
And stopped going to language school.
I rolled my grandmother’s luggage into our house,
And muttered a few words of welcome,
A tear rolling down her cheek, she said,
“I remember when you used to speak such good Finnish”.
Quickly, I wiped away a waterfall,
Before it left the lake in my eyes.
Speaking Finnish had become as homey as a house,
I’d moved out from,
A decade ago.

We celebrated Thanksgiving,
And forgot about Juhannuspäivä*.
Slowly I had become a foreigner to the land,

That breathed my people into being. 
Much like the rest of my life,
Any connection I once had to my culture,
Had gotten lost in,

*Finnish to English Translations
Soumi … Finland
Juhannuspäivä … A Finnish midsummer celebration
Mustikkapiirakka … Finnish dish similar to blueberry pie

Katherine Hayeon Kim “Identity Crisis”

Identity crisis. This is how I define my childhood.
Like I am in the middle of the Venn diagram, I had and still have no clue where I belong. 

In the middle, I wonder, I should have just stayed in one part of the world.

On the left side of the world, the people there clearly look like they don’t want me.
“Just because you live in this country, doesn’t mean you got to act like an American! You’re just an Asian.”
I was 14 years old when I heard this from someone, who was a total stranger.
“Hey, by the way, don’t eat my dog.”
This was my every day ‘hello’ from my classmates, and I’m pretty sure they still think this is funny.
“Corona, Corona, Corona”
The old white man from Costco screamed at me for exactly 3 minutes and 14 seconds. He must have been awfully bored waiting for the line.
“Speak English, this is America.”
I got yelled at by the random Karen in the middle of the street.

On the right side of the world, the people here think I’m a weirdo. 
“Hey, you said you’re from America? Wow, what a Yankee.”
Korean teenagers gave me a cute nickname, which totally, makes me feel neurotic.
“I’m sorry if you got offended, you’re not a real Korean anyway.”
By the way, I am a full Korean. I don’t know how that person come to that conclusion.
“EW, stop speaking English with your friends. It sounds disgusting and weird. Are you bragging that you’re from America?”
I don’t know what language I should speak now.

Born in a peaceful little town, I was the only Asian kid in the block.
Raised in a friendly neighborhood, I was the only English-speaking kid.

“What kind of Asian are you, kid?” I was the only one people asked this question when I was 4.
“So that’s why you cannot get along with your peers?” I was the only student that had to justify my introversion.

Back and forth, my life was consist of living in two completely different countries.

Exactly 6,536 miles from where I was born,
exactly 6,536 miles from where I was raised.

Even though transferring is now an ordinary life event for me, still, it makes me cry every night, usually at 3 am, thinking where do I actually belong and why am I here.

Getting detached from the land you once lived in, provokes an unusual kind of nostalgia.

Gyuwon Choi “Into the Unknown”

First step towards the airport
Not even knowing which transport
Bustling and hustling crowd of people
Pushed and pulled sideways in the pathway
Announcements ringing in my ear as a gate appears
Young me as frightened as can be
Climbing onboard into a world I never explored
Just like walking into the wall at platform 9 3/4
Whooshing through the clouds, Shooshing above the ground
Finally arriving in the land unknown
Mysterious yet so curious of what lies in front of my eyes
Dense air fills my lungs and tense my tongue was
As I tasted the new air, my hair I swear began to change
Unfamiliar trees I could see, with big big leaves that made me glee
The change was fun till it turned into none
Young me as frightened as can be
Couldn’t understand a thing in Beijing
English was undistinguished in the foreign land
So little I felt and little did I know
Powerless and cowardice I became
Stares I felt and glares I met
Unique meant weak for all I knew
Young me as frightened as can be
Thought for a minute about my spirit
Bright was my motto and that became my legato
I showed the world my vibrato and hit the lotto
Bright me as happy as can be
Made friends who loved me for me

These are what I learned  from what I observed
Changes are fright but they can be a delight
Be yourself and ask for help
Loving people will see you as equal
No matter your color or whether you’re another
The world is your home we are never on our own
Difference means different never the wrong
Believe in yourself and never fear
For fear only put you through tears
Stand up and dust off the tears
You can do whatever you desire


Frequently Asked Questions
a.  The entire workshop recordings will not be uploaded, but each recording clip for speaker lecture and Q&A session will be released on our website and youtube channel.
a. The entire workshop is expected to last two hours with 25 minutes of each speaker lecture, Q&A session, and participant engagement activities.
a. The workshop is free of any costs.
a.  Yes. But we strongly encourage you to join at the beginning of the workshop at 6 P.M. EDT.
a. Attendees can expect to learn about alienation, migrant integration, resilience, political and institutional barriers to educational opportunities, and volunteering opportunities to help immigrant and refugee communities.
a.Anyone can attend the workshop, as we aim to create an inclusive and educational environment for all age groups. But, it is essential that individuals complete and submit the registration form to attend the workshop.
a.  The workshop will be hosted on zoom webinar. Individuals will receive an email with the zoom link after they complete the registration form.

a. You can scan the registration QR code by downloading a QR reader app from the app store/google play store. Upon opening the app, you will be prompted to scan the code immediately or you can upload a screenshotted QR code into the app (by clicking the photo icon on the screen). The QR reader app will then direct you to the registration form.

b. Screen recorded video tutorial

c. The QR code can also be scanned using your camera app, if you are looking at the code from one device and scanning with another. To do this, you must open your camera app and hold the camera up to the code (do not take a picture), and a notification will pop up. When you press the notification, you will be redirected to our registration form.  

a. Attendees will be given opportunities to ask questions through the chat, Q&A, and hand raising functions.
a. Project CLAIR is hosting this workshop because of its CLAIR Voices initiative, where we interview immigrant/refugee organizations and individuals to highlight the obstacles that immigrant and refugee communities face. Since these interviews have broadened our knowledge about immigrants and refugees, we would like to give our audience the opportunity to learn about these communities through a free interactive workshop.
a. Yes. Every participant will receive an individual certificate of participation after the workshop. Moreover, some participants can receive free Project CLAIR merch through participant engagement activities. workshop.
a. Attendees can help promote the workshop by sharing our workshop posts across their social media (i.e. instagram stories) and by asking friends/family to fill out the registration form.
a. No. This workshop is open to everyone since it serves as an opportunity to learn about immigrant and refugee obstacles/struggles.
a. Registration closes on July 7 at 11:59 pm Eastern Time.
a. Each panelist will have a slide that includes their contact information, which you can use to contact them after the workshop.
a. This is the first CLAIR Academy event, but we plan to host similar/more events in the future.