News & Events

Student group hosts panel presentation about immigration

The Student Organization of Social Work at the University of Maine at Presque Isle will host a special panel presentation about immigration experiences on Thursday, March 10 at 7 p.m. in the Campus Center.

Leaving Home: An International Journey will feature two panelists speaking about issues around immigration and their personal immigration stories. The event, which is supported by UMPI’s Diversity Committee, is being offered thanks to a University of Maine System Diversity Mini-Grant that the student organization received. The diversity mini-grants are meant to fund events, projects and activities that promote the retention of diverse student, faculty and staff populations.

Saar Andrew Gbongbor, of Fredericton, New Brunswick, and El-Fadel Arbab of Portland, Maine, will serve as the evening’s panelists.

Gbongbor (Andrew Saar) received his Bachelor’s degree in Human Rights and Journalism from Saint Thomas University. He was born in Jordan and moved to Alberta, Canada, at the age of 11. He now resides in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

El-Fadel Arbab is a proud citizen of the United States and resides in Portland, Maine. El-Fadel was only 12 when Sudanese military forces and the Janjaweed militia attacked his village. He works full time, attends school and is a community organizer.

Organizers are hoping to create greater awareness about immigration issues.

“The hope is that audience members will gain an appreciation for the complexity and uniqueness of our panelists’ international journeys and that they’ll learn about ethical dilemmas involved in immigration,” Shirley Rush, Associate Professor of Social Work and Bachelor of Social Work Program Director, said.

The public is invited to attend this free event. For more information, contact Rush at 768-9427 or