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Climate Change Conference

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Refugee camp in Chad

Climate Refugees

Human Migration in the Era of Climate Change

Climate Change Conference

March 16, 2023

From floods to wildfires to droughts, the changing climate increasingly impacts human migration, adding to the growing number of displaced people worldwide. Loyola University Chicago's annual Climate Change Conference will convene experts from multiple disciplines to explore how climate-driven migration will affect communities locally and globally. The conference draws inspiration from Loyola's enduring Jesuit values of social justice, service to humanity, and care for our world, highlighting the need for just and equitable solutions to the climate crisis. 

The 2023 Climate Change Conference will feature a keynote speaker and a panel of experts who will discuss issues confronting the international community, including:

  • Large-scale human migration due to resource scarcity, increased frequency of extreme weather events, and other factors, particularly in the developing countries in the earth's lower latitudes
  • Intensifying intra- and inter-state competition for food, water, and other resources
  • Increased frequency and severity of disease outbreaks
  • Increased US border stress due to the severe effects of climate change in parts of Central America

The conference will take place on Loyola's Lake Shore Campus in the Damen Student Center. A streaming option will be available for those who choose to participate online. 

Speakers

The Climate Change Conference will include a keynote presentation and a panel discussion featuring experts offering diverse perspectives on climate-driven migration. 

Panelists

Shelly Culbertson

Senior Policy Researcher at the RAND Corporation

Shelly Culbertson is a senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation and an associate director of the Disaster Management & Resilience Program (DMR), part of the RAND Homeland Security Research Division. She focuses on disaster and post-conflict recovery, forced displacement, international development, and education. She has led multiple studies about refugees, with a particular focus on education, jobs, humanitarian assistance models, return conditions, and technology, and she co-leads RAND’s Mass Migration Strategy Group. 

 

Culbertson led a hurricane recovery implementation plan for the U.S. Virgin Islands, sponsored by FEMA; a study on municipal recovery capacities needed for Puerto Rico; and a study on post-conflict stabilization of Mosul, Iraq, after the operations against ISIS. Her international development work has focused on the Middle East. She co-led a multi-year effort to advise the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq on improving education and coordinated RAND’s project to design programs for the Qatar National Research Fund, which has now awarded over a billion dollars in research grants. 

 

Before RAND, Culbertson worked at the U.S. State Department in Turkey and at LMI Government Consulting. Her commentaries have appeared in publications including Foreign Policy, The National Interest, The Hill, Foreign Affairs, and Newsweek, and she has conducted interviews on MSNBC, NPR, and BBC World. Culbertson is the author of The Fires of Spring: A Post Arab Spring Journey Through the Turbulent New Middle East (St. Martin’s Press). She earned her MPA in public policy and international development from the School for Public and International Affairs, Princeton University.

Yves Umuhoza

Chief Executive Officer and Chief Engineer at AEI, Climate and Refugee Education Advocate

Yves Umuhoza is a Burundian refugee with a passion for climate advocacy and refugee education. He has participated in high-profile international conferences, including COP26 (United Nations Climate Change Conference 2021), the Refugee Migrant and Education Network (RMEN) Conference, Rewired Summit Dubai 2022, and World Higher Education Conference (WHEC2022) Barcelona 2022. 

 

Umhoza founded a refugee-youth-led organization in Zimbabwe called Assorted Energies International (AEI). Previously, he managed a project in Tongogara Refugee Camp that received funding from the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) through the Global Refugee Youth Network (GRYN). He also volunteered with UNHCR Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene. 

 

Umuhoza is a member of the Global Refugee Education Council 2022/2023 under World Vision Canada. He is an alum of the Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative (DAFI) scholarship program and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in energy and nuclear engineering in Politecnico di Torino in Italy.

Fr. Tom Smolich, SJ

International Director of the Jesuit Refugee Service

Father Thomas H. Smolich, SJ, has served as the international director of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) since October 2015. A native of Sacramento, he was ordained a Jesuit priest in 1986. He earned a master of divinity from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley and an MBA from Stanford University. 

 

Fr. Smolich’s priestly ministry has focused on community development. While stationed at Dolores Mission Parish in East Los Angeles, he served as Executive Director of Proyecto Pastoral, a faith-based NGO coordinating community development activity in the parish. After business school, he was a project manager at Mid-Peninsula Housing Coalition, an affordable housing developer in Redwood City. 

 

In 1999, Fr. Smolich was named provincial of the California Province Jesuits for a six-year term. From 2006 until 2014, he served as the president of the Jesuit Conference of the United States, coordinating the national and international projects of the USA Jesuit provinces. He also worked with JRS in Masisi, Democratic Republic of Congo, in 2015. 

 

Fr. Smolich is a fluent Spanish speaker and enjoys cooking, gardening, and cheering for the San Francisco Giants.

Event Details

Agenda

  • 5:30 p.m.: Doors open to participants 
  • 6 p.m.: Welcome and introductions
  • 6:15 p.m. – 6:45 p.m.: Keynote presentation
  • 6:45 p.m. – 7:45 p.m.: Panel discussion
  • 7:45 p.m. – 8 p.m.: Audience Q&A
  • 8 p.m. – 9 p.m.: Networking reception with refreshments

Location and Directions

Location for the in-person event:

Sister Jean Delores Schmidt Ballroom
Damen Student Center
Lake Shore Campus, Loyola University Chicago
6511 North Sheridan Road, Chicago, IL

Directions and parking:

Directions, maps, and public transit and parking information are available here.

Past Conferences

Our climate change conferences are always the highlight of our academic year. Past speakers have included renowned scientists, community activists, and leaders in government, nonprofits, education, religion, and other fields.

Read More
Support the 2023 Climate Change Conference

Climate Change Conference

March 16, 2023

From floods to wildfires to droughts, the changing climate increasingly impacts human migration, adding to the growing number of displaced people worldwide. Loyola University Chicago's annual Climate Change Conference will convene experts from multiple disciplines to explore how climate-driven migration will affect communities locally and globally. The conference draws inspiration from Loyola's enduring Jesuit values of social justice, service to humanity, and care for our world, highlighting the need for just and equitable solutions to the climate crisis. 

The 2023 Climate Change Conference will feature a keynote speaker and a panel of experts who will discuss issues confronting the international community, including:

  • Large-scale human migration due to resource scarcity, increased frequency of extreme weather events, and other factors, particularly in the developing countries in the earth's lower latitudes
  • Intensifying intra- and inter-state competition for food, water, and other resources
  • Increased frequency and severity of disease outbreaks
  • Increased US border stress due to the severe effects of climate change in parts of Central America

The conference will take place on Loyola's Lake Shore Campus in the Damen Student Center. A streaming option will be available for those who choose to participate online. 

Speakers

The Climate Change Conference will include a keynote presentation and a panel discussion featuring experts offering diverse perspectives on climate-driven migration. 

Panelists

Event Details