Diversity, demographics and development: A conversation on immigration and the American city

Get Tickets
Tuesday 11/7
5:30 pm
FREE Please RSVP if you plan to attend

FOR FILMS AND EVENTS PRESENTED BY IHP, Tickets ARE Also Available From the IHP Box Office, which is normally open Tue-Sat from noon-8pm (or, for events outside of those times, from one hour before until one hour after the scheduled starting time).  
call 215.895.6590. 

Held in the Mayor’s Reception Room at City Hall

Al Bustan’s An Immigrant Alphabet and International House Philadelphia, in conjunction with the The City of Philadelphia Office of Immigrant Affairs present an interdisciplinary panel on migration and its impacts on society and the city.  

Three experts from the University of Pennsylvania’s legal, urban studies, and sociological spheres will address questions of who becomes an immigrant and why, where refugees are settling throughout the region, how immigration makes and remakes spaces, and how it transforms socioeconomic and cultural systems. 

The panelists will engage with the audience and offer insight about the economic and cultural benefits immigration brings, as well as challenges faced by immigrants and refugees as they make new lives in the region. 

This is event is free and capped at 110 people and seating will be first come/first seated. RSVP by using the link to the right if you plan to attend.

All visitors must enter at the Northeast entrance of City Hall (corners of Filbert and Juniper Sts.), provide ID, and are subject to security check. Please review City Hall's visitor policy.

Event begins promptly at 5:30pm. Please allow extra time to check in through security.

Featured Speakers include:
  • Domenic Vitiello, Associate Professor and Assistant Chair of City Planning and Urban Studies at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Design
  • Fernando Chang-Muy, Thomas O'Boyle Lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law teaching Refugee Law. He also teaches courses on Non Profit Management and Immigration for Social Workers at Penn’s Graduate School of Social Policy and Practice.  
  • Emilio A. Parrado, Dorothy Swaine Thomas Professor of Sociology, Chair of Penn’s Sociology Department, Director of the Latin America and Latino Studies program and affiliated faculty with Penn’s Population Studies Center. 

Moderated by Karina Sotnik, Director of Business Incubation and Accelerator Programs, University City Science Center

Speaker Bios

Domenic Vitiello is Associate Professor and Assistant Chair of City Planning and Urban Studies at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Design. He has been a member of AFRICOM, served on the board of ACANA and as board chair of JUNTOS, and worked with many immigrant and refugee community organizations in Philadelphia.  He played for Guatemala in the Hispanic Soccer League of Philadelphia many years ago, and has refereed the annual African and Caribbean Soccer Tournament.  Domenic's recent research has focused on the destruction and preservation of Chinatowns in the United States and Canada; migrant-led transnational development in the U.S., Mexico, and West Africa; and migrant communities’ engagement in urban agriculture around the world.  Earlier this year, Penn Press published his co-edited volume with Tom Sugrue, Immigration and Metropolitan Revitalization in the United States.  Domenic is currently writing a book titled The Sanctuary City that examines Central American, Southeast Asian, African, Arab, and Mexican immigration to Philadelphia since the 1970s.  You can read his essays on immigration and community development in the Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia and PlanPhilly. He has a PhD in History from the University of Pennsylvania.


Fernando Chang-Muy is the Thomas O'Boyle Lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law where he teaches Refugee Law.  He also teaches courses on Non Profit Management and Immigration for Social Workers at Penn’s Graduate School of Social Policy and Practice. He has served as Legal Officer with both the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the UN World Health Organization (WHO), AIDS Program. Before joining the UN, he was a staff attorney at Community Legal Services in Philadelphia serving as Director of the Southeast Asian Refugee Project, providing free legal aid to low-income immigrants and refugees in Philadelphia. He is also past founding director of the Liberty Center for Survivors of Torture, a project of Lutheran Children and Family Services, established to serve newcomers fleeing human rights violations.  He serves on the Boards of local public interest organizations, government, and foundations. In 2008, Philadelphia Mayor Nutter appointed him as a Commissioner to the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations. He is former Board member of the Delaware Valley Grantmakers, The Philadelphia Award, the Wells Fargo Regional Foundation and the Southeast Asian Mutual Assistance Coalition. He is author of numerous articles on diverse topics dealing with immigration & refugees, public health and management, and is co-editor of the text Social Work with Immigrants and Refugees (NY: Springer Publication, 2008).  He is a graduate of Loyola, Georgetown, Antioch and Harvard Law School’s Program on Negotiation. He is a 2011 recipient of the Penn Law Public Interest Supervisor/Advisor of the Year Award honoring outstanding project supervisors and advisors and the 2016 recipient of the Law School Beacon Award, recognizing exemplary commitment to pro bono work by a Penn Law faculty member.


Emilio A. Parrado is the Dorothy Swaine Thomas Professor of Sociology, Chair of Penn’s Sociology Department, Director of the Latin America and Latino Studies program and affiliated faculty with Penn’s Population Studies Center. His research has migration as it central focus and its interaction with other demographic and social processes. Dr. Parrado’s interests fall into three broad categories: 1- The Hispanic population of the United States, especially issues of immigrant adaptation and new areas of migrant settlement; 2- International migration, with special emphasis on its determinants and consequences for sending and receiving regions including health and family outcomes; 3- Social and demographic change in Latin America, including social mobility and family behavior. He is presently concentrating his efforts in studying the intersection of gender, migration, and health risks among Mexican and Honduran migrants in sending areas and receiving communities in the U.S. Combining quantitative and qualitative methods, he draws upon diverse sources of existing data such as population and economic statistics and survey data, as well as collects original survey and ethnographic data and he uses a variety of advanced statistical methods for data analysis, and draw upon ethnographic and historical materials for contextualizing relationships and interpreting outcomes. This mixing of research methods and data sources enhances his analyses of complex social and demographic phenomena. He obtained his PhD from the University of Chicago. 

Karina Sotnik was born in Riga, Latvia and moved to San Francisco in 1988. She is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, adviser, and educator. She spent more than a decade in Silicon Valley in senior positions helping companies grow globally. She also launched three ventures of her own, including WorldUpstart, a consulting practice focused on providing mentorship and advice on best innovation practices to institutions around the world and helping international companies enter US market. In addition, she worked as a Digital Enterprise Portfolio Manager at the University of Pennsylvania PCI Ventures where she launched and ran AppItUP, a digital accelerator for mobile apps. She is now a Director of Business Incubation and Accelerator Programs at the University City Science Center. She frequently gives seminars and webinars on a range of topics that may be helpful to startups including "Pretotyping," based on the work of Alberto Savoia and Jeremy Clarke. In addition, her translations of Russian poetry has been published in World Literature Today and Common  Knowledge, as well as other publications.

About Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture

Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture is dedicated to presenting and teaching Arab culture through the arts and language.“Al-Bustan,” Arabic for “The Garden,” offers structured exposure to the language, art, music, dance, literature, and natural environment of the Arab world. Al-Bustan promotes cross-cultural understanding among youth and adults of all ethnic, religious, and socio-economic backgrounds through artistic and educational programs. Al-Bustan supports the pursuit and affirmation of Arab American cultural identity, while playing a constructive civic role within broader American society.


About The Office of Immigrant Affairs
The mission of the Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA) is to promote the well-being of Philadelphia’s immigrant communities. We do this by recommending and developing policies and programs, which in turn provide opportunity and access to services. We help facilitate the successful inclusion of immigrants into the civic, economic, and cultural life of the city. We also highlight the essential role that immigrants have played and continue to play in our city.

Additional questions about this event can be directed to Chrissie DiAngelus, Director of Marketing & Communications.