A community that welcomes immigrants is more likely to be a healthy one, according to an immigrant integration expert who visited Kennesaw State Tuesday, Nov. 7.
David Lubell is the founder and executive director of Welcoming America, an immigration advocacy organization that helps cities across the United States become an open door for incoming immigrants, making their experience easier and more welcoming.
Welcoming America helps cities become “welcoming cities,” registered safe places for immigrants that will adapt to their needs.
Lubell said the idea for Welcoming America came to him when he traveled to Ecuador to teach English in a local community. Although he was not fluent in Spanish, he said he was accepted into the community with open arms.
When he came back to America, he wanted to return that favor to immigrants coming here.
He started the program “Welcoming Tennessee” in Nashville, a smaller version of what would later become Welcoming America. The organization branched out all over the country, and Lubell is now making progress expanding to the rest of the world.
According to Lubell, the world is currently experiencing its biggest refugee crisis since World War II, and right now only one in eight Americans live in a welcoming city. Currently, Atlanta is a member of Welcoming America’s “welcoming cities and counties” cohort.
Lubell said he came to KSU to bring awareness to the refugee epidemic and to provide students with insight into what they can do as a community to make KSU a more welcoming university.
He expressed that college should not just be a place where students live, but a place where they can thrive. Lubell also said that the programs on campus that work with international and minority students are a step toward making the campus a haven.