Local Immigrants Win Scholarships To Global Issues Conference

A group of Portland-area immigrants has just gained free access to an educational experience uniquely apt for them.

Through a grant from the Sam L. Cohen Foundation to the Camden Conference, 20 Portland-area English-speaking immigrant students and adults will be awarded full scholarships to the Conference’s live-streaming venue at the University of Southern Maine, Portland on “Refugees and Global Migration: Humanity’s Crisis,” February 17 -19, 2017.

Participants will be chosen by collaborating organizations that include USM’s Multicultural Center, Catholic Charities Maine, and the New Mainers Resource Center, a division of Portland Adult Education.  The Sam L. Cohen grant also covers part of the expenses for the Portland venue.

Reza Jalali, director of USM’s Multicultural Center and a faculty member teaching a political science course on immigration this winter in partnership with the Conference, commented, “I’m thrilled to have a few of my students, many of whom are new Mainers themselves, have the opportunity to attend the Conference at no cost to them.  As a public university, we strive to expose our students to the global issues that require our attention.  By providing scholarships to our low-income students, we help them gain the knowledge and understanding, which Camden Conference presenters offer, to become the global citizens we wish them to be.”

The Sam L. Cohen Foundation’s mission is to ensure that all people have the opportunity to develop their potential and provide healthy, productive futures for themselves, their families and communities.  The Camden Conference is a non-profit, non-partisan educational organization with a mission to foster informed discourse on world issues.

The 2017 Conference marks the 30th anniversary year for the organization.  The Conference weekend is the culmination of six months of free-to-the-public community events.  The three-day event originates in Camden and is live-streamed to Portland, Belfast and Rockland.

The experience of attending the Conference includes the chance to network with other attendees at two breaks on Saturday and one on Sunday.

Since its inception in 1987, the Conference has maintained standards of timely subject matter, speakers with outstanding credentials and effective speaking skills, lively audience participation, and emphasis on bi-partisan viewpoints.

With its expansion over the years, the Conference has come to touch more and more lives.  No-charge community events as well as education programs help people largely from Maine become more informed on key issues in world affairs that increasingly impact their lives.

The Conference adheres to its most basic mission, to educate.  Participants in all Conference events are exposed to the most current thinking on the annual topic, sharpening their critical-thinking skills to allow them to evaluate sources more effectively.

To see a video and to sign up for the 2017 Conference, see  You can attend the live event in Camden or a large-screen live streaming at one of the other venues.  New for 2017, a limited number can receive a direct live-streaming at home by applying before February 1, 2017.  Call 207-236-1034 for details.

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