International Roundtable starts conversations over dinner

By on February 26, 2017

By Eric Matthews–

Students and faculty packed the Red Barn for the International Roundtable on Feb. 21, enjoying food and conversation with local refugees and their advocates.

Organized by the Honors Student Council and funded by the Porter Society, the event turned a spotlight on Kentucky Refugee Ministries, a non-profit organization that provides resettlement services to refugees arriving in Louisville and helps them integrate into the community.

The event featured halal catering, with attendees chowing down on dishes like curried goat and chicken. As they dined, participants struck up conversations with the refugees or KRM staff members at their tables, sometimes reading from a card of suggested questions to help break the ice. All proceeds from admission, which cost $8 for students and $15 for others, went to KRM.

Sophomore biology student Adam Khayat, whose family emigrated from Syria in 1992, said he was drawn to the event because of the chaos surrounding President Donald Trump’s immigration ban and the xenophobic rhetoric that accompanied it.

“Louisville as a community is very diverse and consists of people from all walks of life and all corners of the globe,” Khayat said. “It’s important to show up and stand for inclusivity, peace and cooperation.”

Khayat met KRM staffer Hannah Touchton at the event, who helped him find a way to get involved with the organization.

“Next semester, I hope to contribute and help mentor [children of KRM clients],” Khayat said.

For more information on KRM, including how to volunteer or donate, call (502) 479-9180.

Photo by Eric Matthews / The Louisville Cardinal

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