Williams to Host Film, Talk on Refugee Crisis and Work of International Rescue Committee

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., April 17, 2017—Williams College will host a film screening and discussion about the refugee crisis, contemporary American politics and the work of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday, April 27, in Paresky Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

Filmmaker Renee Silverman will present her film, Refugee Kids: One Small School Takes on the World (runtime: 40 minutes) and then give a short presentation. That will be followed by a talk by Gerrard Khan ’93, the director of U.S. Programs at the IRC. Khan will discuss the refugee crisis, contemporary American politics and the work of his organization.

The film is a short documentary that follows students at the IRC’s Refugee Youth Summer Academy in New York City, a program for children seeking asylum from the world’s most volatile conflicts. It presents an intimate, emotionally gripping account of the students’ stories of escaping war and conflict and resettling in America, chronicling their triumphs and setbacks as their lives unfold over the course of one formative summer. Refugee Kids humanizes complex geopolitics and depict the challenges and urgency of immigration to America in an increasingly dangerous – and interconnected – world.

“This film is a testament to the spirit of some of America’s youngest refugees and to the dedicated people who help prepare them for New York City classrooms,” says David Miliband, president of the IRC. “I am proud of the difference that the IRC’s Refugee Youth Academy has made in young refugees’ lives, and we welcome this opportunity to highlight their stories and potential with new audiences.”

Silverman, the film’s co-director and producer, is a news and documentary filmmaker whose work has been distributed theatrically and broadcast on the major networks, including PBS in the U.S., German public television networks, and the BBC and Channel Four in the U.K., among others. She has produced hundreds of reports, including an award winning three-part feature series on global warming in Alaska for German NOVA. She has collaborated with Peter Miller, her filmmaking partner, on Sosua: Make a Better World, which was broadcast on dozens of PBS affiliates across America, and she has also written, produced, and directed two short dramatic films, Other Islands and Deep Water.

After graduating with a degree in history and English from Williams in 1993, Khan studied at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University before assuming various positions with the IRC. He has been posted around the world, working with refugee programs in a number of crisis zones.

For further information, see: http://refugeekidsfilm.com/index.html.

This event is sponsored by the Gaudino Fund, the departments of history and political science, and the programs in American studies, global studies, and leadership studies.


For building locations on the Williams campus, please consult the map outside the driveway entrance to the Security Office located in Hopkins Hall on Main Street (Rte. 2), next to the Thompson Memorial Chapel, or call the Office of Communications (413) 597-4277. The map can also be found on the web at www.williams.edu/map