Syrian Conflict: Politics, Migration and Health

SG visits refugee Reception Centre Tenda di AbramoKaren Solheim, director of Global Health Initiatives in the School of Nursing, and Jennifer Loewenstein, former associate director for the UW-Madison Middle Eastern Studies Program and senior lecturer at Penn State University, will examine the political dimensions of the conflict, patterns of forced migration, the health consequences for those who are displaced, and avenues for advocacy.

A reception will follow.

The event is co-sponsored by the Institute for Regional and International Studies.

Jennifer Loewenstein: Activist and Educator

Jennifer Loewenstein has been a human rights activist, freelance journalist, volunteer English instructor in the Palestinian refugee camp of Bourj al-Barajneh in South Beirut, Lebanon; U.N. special witness to the Gaza War of 2008-9 (Geneva, Switzerland), and a delegate for two other conferences on Palestinian Civil Society unnamed-2(Geneva & Brussels). She joined a panel in Brussels at the European Parliament in a special session of the U,N, Palestine in 2007. She won the Dane County United Nations Association award for Global Citizen of the year in 2009 and the Rachel Corrie Award for Palestinian activism and human rights in 2010 at the annual Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee conference.

Loewenstein founded the Carol Chomsky Memorial Fund for Middle East-related issues. She’s a member of the leadership group at Amnesty International and organized numerous conferences and events at UW-Madison through the Middle Eastern Studies Program, the Havens Center, the Wisconsin Union Directorate and Independently with the cooperation of Columbia University, Georgetown, University of Wisconsin, University of Michigan and Rutgers for Dr. Mads Gilbert of Norway, a medical doctor who has worked in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories for 30 years.

Almost all of Loewensteing’s writing, teaching, and research is in Middle Eastern Studies. At the UW-Madison, she taught s at one of the Honors’ Colleges in Iranian and Levantine history. She founded the Madison-Rafah Sister City Organization in December 2002 and was a Visiting Fellow at the Refugee Studies Center at Oxford University in the UK in 2005-6.

Karen Solheim: Nurse, Humanitarian, Educator

Karen Solheim’s  interest in global health and the refugee population began in the 1980’s when she worked for the American Refugee Committee in refugee camps in Thailand. She has pursued her global health interest through various overseas field assignments in Solheim 14774 3373 4x6Cambodia, India, Somalia and Malawi. Her scholarship is related to global health nursing education and humanitarian endeavors with a special interest in organizations’ work with refugee communities to build capacity for sustainable community health.

Solheim completed post-doctoral training in Primary Health Care (NIH, NINR Grant #NR07079) as part of the Global Health Leadership Office at the University of Illinois in Chicago College of nursing.  She co-leads courses for nursing and health professions students in Malawi and Thailand. With partners in Africa and the United States, she leads International Partners for Education, Inc., a nongovernmental organization supporting secondary education for orphans and vulnerable students in Malawi.