On November 1-2, student representatives from 23 of IRAP’s law school chapters, as well as attorneys, supporters, and pro bono coordinators, made their way to midtown Manhattan for IRAP’s National Conference. Generously sponsored by Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, the conference was an opportunity for the larger IRAP community to gather together and unpack some of the issues most central to IRAP’s work.
Becca Heller, IRAP Director and co-founder, opened Saturday’s program by highlighting a number of IRAP’s recent accomplishments and underscoring the student-driven nature of its mission. Later that day, George Packer delivered a moving keynote address that built upon the July article he wrote for The New Yorker about the Special Immigrant Visa program in Iraq. Saturday’s program also included a panel of resettled IRAP clients, a session on international refugee law, and a panel comprised of IRAP’s Middle East staff reporting observations from the field.
On Sunday, the program began with a presentation by two Yale University professors on working with clients with trauma and memory loss, after which students participated in skills-based workshop sessions for some practical training. In addition to a panel on refugee policy and processing, students heard from a number of individuals who shed light on the nature of IRAP’s advocacy work and offered guidance on how best to engage with the advocacy component of IRAP’s mission.
We are thrilled with the level of attendance and engagement from students and other friends of IRAP. This year’s conference was the most successful to date! We can’t wait for the Middle East Trips.