Refugees And Immigration, Across The Street And Around The World

Published on Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

Looking at the role of global citizens today

What are the practical implications of the new U.S. presidential administration’s immigration measures? What impact do foreign born workers have on the economy at the local, regional, and national levels? View some of the panel’s answers to such questions, below.

WBUR 90.9 FM’s Senior Correspondent Deborah Becker moderated a panel of community leaders who span higher education, international relations, health care, and refugee assistance. The event took place on Monday, March 6, 6:30-8:00 p.m. in room 210 of the Weller Academic Center at 61 Sever Street, on the Worcester Campus of Becker College.

Becker’s reporting at WBUR focuses on mental health, criminal justice and education; she is also a substitute host on several WBUR programs and helps produce and report for various WBUR special projects.


Robert E. Johnson, Ph.D.

President, Becker College
As the 10th president of Becker College, Johnson was appointed to the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education and is a member of the Council on Competitiveness. He has addressed organizations across the country on topics including leadership, innovation, and entrepreneurship. He set Becker on its current path toward global citizenship and operationalizing the liberal arts through the Agile Mindset to give students all the skills they need to succeed.

David Jordan, DHA, MPA

President and CEO of Seven Hills Foundation, Professor of Practice in Social Innovation – Yunus Social Business Center @ Becker College
Jordan travels extensively with Seven Hills Global Outreach to partner in the areas of sustainable economic development, public health, education, and environmental sustainability. He has taught courses in strategic management, public policy & administration, strategic marketing, and social entrepreneurship.
Jordan and the Seven Hills Foundation commissioned the study, “The Foreign-Born Population of Worcester,” by the Public Policy Center at UMass Dartmouth and the Donahue Institute at UMass Worcester, which found that, “the foreign-born community is not only enriching Worcester’s social and cultural landscape but also making significant contributions to the city’s economy and labor market (p. 58).”

Olga Valdman, M.D.

Family Medicine Physician, Family Health Center in Worcester, Assistant Professor at UMass Medical School
Originally from Russia, Valdman moved to the US at the age of 15. She is director of the Global Health Track at UMass Medical School. She is a co-founder of the African Community Education program which works with children who are refugees from various African countries providing them with remedial education and psychosocial support.

Meredith Walsh, MPH, NP-C

Executive Director and Co-founder, Worcester Refugee Assistance Project
Walsh worked as technical advisor for reproductive health at the Mae Tao Clinic, Burma Medical Association, and the Adolescent Reproductive Health Network. She conducted translational research to improve the quality of health care for displaced people from Burma on the Thailand-Burma border. She currently works in primary care as a family nurse practitioner at the Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center in Worcester.


This event was presented by the Becker College Center for Global Citizenship; the media sponsored is WBUR 90.9 FM Boston.