T. William & Patricia Ayers Global Tipping Points Series
Against a backdrop of global displacement, this event offers audience members the opportunity to hear expert insight and a personal narrative of the refugee experience, offering a rare insight into the challenges they've overcome, the dreams they continue to pursue, and the realities that are faced in the immigration process. By delving into the intricate tapestry of resilience that threads through the lives of refugees, we seek to foster understanding and meaningful conversations that transcend borders.
Join the World Affairs Council with the NH Fulbright Association, with our speaker Jeffrey Thielman, President and CEO of the International Institute of New England, and Vijay Bhujel, Deputy Director of Building Community in NH, for an event on discussing U.S refugee policy and first-hand accounts of what it means to be a refugee in the United States.
About the Speakers
Since becoming the President and CEO of the International Institute of New England in 2015, Jeff Thielman has been a leader in the effort to preserve the U.S. refugee resettlement program and to protect the rights of immigrants in New England. Under his direction, IINE has expanded services to more refugees and immigrants, reinstated its legal services program, and expanded career services to more cities and towns in the region.
Prior to joining IINE, he co-founded the national Cristo Rey Network and spent nearly two decades creating schools that today serve 13,000 low income and immigrant students in 24 U.S. states and boast of more than 21,000 graduates. Jeff oversaw the start-up of the first 24 Cristo Rey schools and served as President of Cristo Rey Boston High School.
Early in his professional career, Jeff was a trial attorney in Boston and worked in the financial services industry. Between college and law school, he served as a Jesuit International Volunteer in Tacna, Peru, where he was a teacher and founder of a program for street children called the Center for the Working Child, which has been replicated in several cities in Peru. He is co-author of Volunteer: With the Poor in Peru, holds undergraduate and law degrees from Boston College, and is fluent in Spanish.
Jeff lives with his wife and three children in Arlington, Massachusetts, where he serves on the town’s School Committee.
Vijay Bhujel is the deputy director of Building Community in New Hampshire, a nonprofit organization that helps refugees and immigrants navigate their way to safe, healthy, productive, prosperous, and connected lives in New Hampshire.
Originally from Bhutan, Vijay spent 22 years in Jhapa Refugee Camp, Nepal, awaiting resettlement before coming to the United States in 2012. Trained in Nepal and India as a math and physics teacher, he started working at Wal-Mart and as a substitute teacher in the Concord School District. Vijay has 11 years of experience working with refugees in New Hampshire and has done remarkable work for Ascentria Care Alliance in Concord, where he has led its Resettlement and Integration Team and has served as a community health worker, case manager, and team manager. He also joined the board of directors of BCNH, when it was still known as the Bhutanese Community of New Hampshire, and served two terms from 2012 through 2016.
Vijay earned a Bachelor in Science in Physics from the University of North Bengal in India. He speaks English, Nepali, Hindi, and Dzongkha and lives in Concord with his wife and two adult children.