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IRIS, YSPH host community discussion on climate-induced migration

IRIS, YSPH host community discussion on climate-induced migration

The talk focused on the serious impacts of climate change on forced displacement on an international, national and local scale.

Yale faculty and students participated in a community conversation on April 29 to discuss the intersection of climate change and immigration.

Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services, or IRIS, which is a refugee resettlement agency that provides services to people who have recently immigrated to New Haven, hosted the discussion. The event was moderated by Kaveh Khoshnood SPH ’95, professor at the Yale School of Public Health. Among the panelists were experts who spoke about the effect of climate change on immigration at the international, national and local levels. They discussed how extreme weather and rising sea levels have forcefully displaced people across the globe, creating a surge in immigration.

“We very strategically chose our speakers,” said Tabitha Sookdeo ENV ’25, a development manager at IRIS who coordinated the event. “We wanted to look at the different scales of the issue … because it is not only happening on an international scale where people are being displaced by climate borders, but it is also happening internally, within the United States.”

The first panelist to speak at the event was Andrew Harper, climate action special advisor to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. He is responsible for providing guidance and expertise to the UNHCR’s response to climate change.

Harper and his team are trying to gain a better understanding of why forced displacement occurs so that they can work with others to address its root causes. Regions across the globe — from the Indian subcontinent to West Africa to the Dry Corridor in Central America, among others — are experiencing such forced displacement at increasing rates

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