Aug. 11, 2017

"The Hope of Starting Over in America": Mahoney Among Saturday's Speakers on Grounds

Editor’s note: All scheduled Saturday events were canceled; the talks did not take place. From the President’s Office:

Due to the ongoing public safety concerns in downtown Charlottesville and as a result of both the City of Charlottesville and the County of Albemarle declaring a local state of emergency, the University of Virginia is cancelling all scheduled events and programming today (Saturday) effective at noon.

This cancellation includes all academic programming, the scheduled community discussions taking place in the University Libraries, and all UVA Athletic events and programming. The University is monitoring the developments in Charlottesville and continues to coordinate with state and local law enforcement.

The UVA medical center remains open.

More information is here.


As a nation of immigrants, the United States benefits from being “a diverse country. We have been since our founding, and it’s been one of our strengths,” said Christine Mahoney, Professor of Public Policy and Politics and Director of Social Entrepreneurship @ UVA.

In contrast, the protest, alt-right rallies planned for Saturday, Aug. 12 in Charlottesville “are aimed at highlighting and celebrating white supremacy. They’re anathema to a diverse community,” she said.

Mahoney spoke in a Thursday interview, two days before she was to present her Saturday talk on “A Refugee’s Journey: Fleeing War, The Long Wait, and The Hope of Starting Over in America” at noon at UVA’s Clemons Library, room 407.

Her half-hour presentation is one of 40 scheduled from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Grounds, as UVA provides “a day of events displaying its commitment to mutual respect and inclusion.” The full list of presentations for the “day of reflective conversation” is here. They are all free and open to the public.

Also speaking Saturday are Mahoney’s Batten School colleagues Mimi (Margaret Foster) Riley, Sophie Trawalter, and David Leblang.

Riley will speak on “The Future of Health Care Reform” at 2 p.m. at the Clemons Vizlounge. Trawalter’s talk is “The Importance of Public Space” at the Alderman Scholars’ Lab at 4 p.m. Leblang will speak at 4:30 p.m. on “Immigration: Facts and Fiction” in Clemons 407.

Riley is Professor of Law and Public Policy at the UVA Law School and also teaches in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the UVA School of Medicine.

Trawalter is Associate Professor of Public Policy and Psychology.

Leblang is Professor of Public Policy for Leadership and Public Policy and Director of the Global Policy Center. He also is Chair of the Department of Politics and J. Wilson Newman Professor of Governance at the Miller Center of Public Affairs.

“It is important to understand the humanitarian drive, why we (in the United States) accept these people, and why we have been a leader in the world,” said Mahoney, who for more than a decade has studied the global crisis of displaced persons, who now number more than 65 million.

Many other international travelers enter the United States “on different visas – tourist visas, fiancé(e) visas,” Mahoney said, offering examples, and those “processes are nowhere near as rigorous as our refugee resettlement process.

“(Refugees) have been extremely vetted,” said Mahoney. “We really do not need to be concerned from a security standpoint.

“The Department of Homeland Security has been doing its job (of investigating refugees) very well for years and years.”

Some 70,000 to 90,000 refugees a year have been entering the United States, but the current administration may cut that number to 50,000, Mahoney said.

Refugees “have integrated into their communities and started businesses. Some of the refugees and children of refugees have become successful entrepreneurs.

“We have been in the forefront of accepting people and welcoming them to be productive citizens.

“They just want to start their life over in peace with their families,” she said.

In This Article

Professor of Public Policy and Politics and Director of Social Entrepreneurship @ UVA
Email Address
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Office Location/Room Number
Garrett L020C
Professor of Politics and Public Policy, Director of the Global Policy Center
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Garrett L028, Gibson S281
Professor of Law and Public Policy
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580 Massie Road, Room WB347
Associate Professor of Public Policy and Psychology
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Garrett L004B