Our next Idea Lab will Follow the matinee performance of Abyss on November 28th. Panelists Marianne Scharf (The Center for the Integration and Advancement of New Americans) and Jennifer Sime (International Rescue Committee), two leaders at the forefront of immigrant and refugee issues, will discuss the global migrant and resettlement crisis and how it resonates with Abyss.
Abyss is a poetic and powerful thriller that asks us to consider “some very topical questions of European national identities in a time of permeable and shifting borders.” – Ben Brantley, The New York Times. The Last Balkan War, which is an ever-present backdrop to this play, is very meaningful when discussing current immigrant and refugee issues.
The New York Times discuss this connection in their article 17,000 Migrants Stranded in Croatia by Border Crackdown Published on SEPT. 18, 2015.
Marianne Scharf has worked on immigrant and refugee issues since 2005, beginning her career with the US Refugee Resettlement
Program, in Columbus, Ohio. Other experience includes working as coordinator for London Refugee Voice, an advocacy network of over 80 community based organizations in the UK; IREX, as a program manager in Northern Iraq, and as a program manager at The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights. Marianne studied Economics at the Ohio State University and Arabic at The University of Damascus. She holds a post graduate certificate in Holistic Approaches to Refugee Care, and an MSc in International Development, with a focus on Post Conflict Institutional Development. She currently works as as Program Director at CIANA (the Center for the Integration and Advancement of New Americans) in Astoria, NY.
Jennifer Sime is Senior Vice President for US Programs at the International Rescue Committee. She is a humanitarian specialist with more than eighteen years of experience, including fifteen years working with the IRC at both field and headquarters level. For the last two years Jennifer has overseen all of IRC’s domestic programs throughout 26 offices in the United States. In addition to this, Jennifer has played an integral role in the development of IRC’s five-year Strategic Plan which focuses on improving outcomes for its clients and generating evidence to strengthen programs. Previously, Jennifer served as Senior Director of Business Development. Under Jennifer’s leadership from 2006 – 2013, the IRC won more than $600 million in competitive grants and contracts. Before moving to IRC’s New York headquarters, Jennifer held Country Director posts for IRC in Georgia and for Mercy Corps in Kyrgyzstan and Kosovo. Jennifer also worked as Deputy Director for Programs for Catholic Relief Services in South Sudan and for the IRC in Kosovo. Additionally, she has completed assignments in Bosnia, Panama, Guantanamo Bay-Cuba, Palestine, Liberia, Rwanda, DR Congo, Thailand, and Pakistan. She holds an undergraduate degree in Political Science from Boston University and a graduate degree in Latin American Politics from New York University.