Conference explores migration through lenses of faith, experience, law

Columbia Theological Seminary and Emory University’s Center for the Study of Law and Religion in partnership with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and other national and global organizations brought together 180 participants for a conference on “Migration and Border Crossings”. The conference which drew leading theologians, legal scholars, artists, students, leaders of faith communities, activists and others working on the front lines, explored border crossings and migration through the lens of faith, experience and law.

Dr Raj Nadella, associate professor of New Testament and co-organiser of the conference, said: “In the context of growing xenophobia and dehumanization of immigrants and refugees in the United States and other parts of the world, faith communities and people committed to justice have a moral obligation to attenuate such dehumanizing discourses in the media and stand with the most vulnerable among us. We are hosting this multi-disciplinary conference on immigration in order to provide intellectual insights and practical tools that participants can take home to address immigration-related issues within their communities and make a concrete difference for people at the margins of our society.”

Peniel Rajkumar, WCC’s programme coordinator for Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation, said, “The highlight of this conference was the way in which it interwove faith and legal perspectives to real life experiences of migration. Both faith and the law provide the vital means and resources to mitigate the negative consequences of migration and actively resist and reverse the dehumanisation often associated with migrant experiences. These perspectives are crucial for all those intending to be change-makers in a situation fuelled by xenophobic and nationalist tendencies. The conference built both the practical and spiritual will to foster fullness of life for those on a migrant journey and the WCC is glad to have partnered in this initiative.”

World Council of Churches,