NIRV films at Viterbo University: “a much needed wake-up call”

November 20, 2020

Students at Viterbo University, a private Franciscan university in Wisconsin, gathered on Tuesday, November 17 to screen and discuss films from the NIRV collection. (See below for a full-length recording of the Zoom event.)

“I loved this presentation! The movies were a much needed wake-up call and hearing from so many different points of view was refreshing!”

They watched three films with a focus on faith and freedom, namely Worlds Apart at Home by Somali refugee Abdirahman Abdi, Navigating Hope by Afghan refugee Sayed Najib Hashimi and Seeking Settled Ground by Mohammad Arifuzzaman of Bangladesh.

“The motivation and perseverance of the people in the films inspires me to help more immigrants feel welcome.”

“I have a greater respect for immigrants and what they go through to be American citizens.”

Following the films, attention turned towards dialogue with panelists Rahmatullah Aka, Community Services Manager at the International Institute of New England; Mani Biswa, Bhutanese Christian refugee and film subject of Navigating Hope; Michelle Pinzl, Assistant Professor of English/World Languages at Viterbo University; Ernesto Rodriguez, a Cuban refugee who has lived in the Midwest for 40 years; and CSFilm Founding Director Michael Sheridan.

“Seeing and hearing how difficult it is for immigrants to fit in makes me want to raise awareness and change the minds of the anti-immigration people in my hometown.”

“I never realized how long some immigrants are in refugee camps before arriving to the United States.”

The event was hosted by Viterbo University’s Identities Project, a cross-campus collaboration that provides opportunities for students to explore and discuss facets of identity through intentionally-reflective civil dialogues, lectures, documentaries with discussions, and other programs.

“I learned about my own biases and how they impact others. I also learned how different the [immigrant] stories were from what I thought.”

“I think as Americans we need to be more open to those who are simply trying to make a better life for themselves.”

Special thanks to Colin Burns-Gilbert, Megan Pierce and the Viterbo Campus Ministry for hosting and organizing this event!

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