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ISS Gives Refugees Taste of American Life

PAIR youthThe International Studies Society at University of St. Thomas teamed up with the Students Working Against Trafficking club and Model United Nations club, to host 43 young refugees through the Partnership for the Advancement and Immersion of Refugees, or PAIR, on Nov. 8.

This event sought to bring up a new friendship and insights into the backgrounds and experiences of both PAIR’s children and UST students.

PAIR is a local Houston non-profit that works to empower refugee children to navigate American life and become engaged in Houston. It provides educational and mentoring programs for the refugee youth to enable them reach their academic potential and become community leaders.

“The evening was a chance to extend the international studies classroom experience to the outside world and offer a hand of friendship to others who have had a very difficult life,” said Dominic Ksielewski, president of the ISS. 

UST hosted a dessert party for the young people, all of whom are in Houston as refugees from places such as Syria, The Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burma.

UST Students with PAIR Youth“It was an evening full of ice breakers and introductions, a scavenger hunt around campus, a feast of desserts and soda, and a series of “Minute to Win It” games,” Ksielewski said. “The visitors also received an introduction to college life through discussions with UST students.”

Through this event, the Center for International Studies at UST aimed to demonstrate the application of cross-cultural communications and service to the community.

This event also encourages the cooperation between ISS and other UST student organizations that will increase the number of volunteers and outreach opportunities.

“This event was held to promote UST’s commitment to social justice that is fully supported by the Center for International Studies students and faculty,” Ksielewski said. 

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The University of St. Thomas, dedicated to educating leaders of faith and character, is a private institution committed to the liberal arts and to the religious, ethical and intellectual tradition of Catholic higher education. St. Thomas is Houston’s only Catholic University and was founded by the Basilian Fathers in 1947.


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