2021 on Star: The year of transition

Last year, after the cancellation of conferences on Star Island, the committee organized a well-received and well attended Virtual IA, where we shared community but could not be physically on island.  This year, we are able to be physically on Star but with fewer people to achieve reduced density and maintain physical distancing guidelines.  Some of us will be able to share community on Island and some of us will not be able to do so, but there will be live streaming of some activities planned. 

A smaller conference means fewer people paying conference fees to support activities during the week, so some of our usual programming will not be possible.  This means Star may seem more like an individual retreat with fewer people, but we will maintain as much as possible. Yoga, arts, and choir will occur in modified forms.  We will have morning speakers, timely topics and will be looking for individuals to volunteer and organize various ad hoc programs like the senior woman’s group. There will be a youth program but it will be limited to 50 children.   

Overall, this will be the year of transition from virtual to modified and, hopefully next year, back to our usual robust programming.  So, if you ever wondered how it would feel to have more free time to wander the island with fewer people, this is the year to find out. We do still have room to accommodate a few more Shoalers.  Please keep in mind that if we exceed our registration limit of 170 before May 1, we will implement a lottery and you will be notified of your registration status as soon as possible after that date.

As Spring arrives and vaccination rates continue to increase, we strongly believe Star will open this year.  Here is the link to the Star Island Corp website for FAQs related to COVID-19. Updates are being made daily.

Please reach out to us if you have any questions.

Your IA Committee

Iyabo Obasanjo, IA 2021 Committee Chair
Laura Jaffe Espinosa 
Greg Dixon
Gretchen Donehower
Dan Hotchkiss, Chair Emeritus                
Kristin Laverty, Registrar/Treasurer
Katie Bender, Youth Program Director

Mónica Ortiz Uribe

Mónica Ortiz Uribe

Speaker at the 2019 International Affairs Conference

Mónica Ortiz Uribe is a freelance radio reporter who specializes in covering the U.S.–Mexico border and the American Southwest. She was one of three El Paso–based reporters—all women—to cover a vicious drug war in Ciudad Juárez beginning in 2008. Her coverage included the disappearance and murder of young women in that city. Mónica has also reported on Mexico’s judicial reform, strikes by Mexican factory workers, and water-management issues in the arid Southwest. Her reports on the impact of the Trump administration’s immigration and border enforcement policies air regularly on National Public Radio and Public Radio International.

Mónica graduated with a master’s in journalism from Columbia University in 2018. She has an undergraduate degree in history from the University of Texas at El Paso. To hear some of her recent work, follow this search on Google.

Julie Dahlstrom

Julie Dahlstrom

Speaker at the 2019 International Affairs Conference

Julie Dahlstrom is a clinical associate professor at Boston University School of Law, where she teaches in the areas of immigration, human trafficking, gender-based violence, and public interest law. She also founded and directs the Immigrants’ Rights & Human Trafficking Program, which offers law students at BU the opportunity to represent noncitizen and survivor clients. Julie also founded and chairs the U and T Visa Working Group of the Immigration Coalition at the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute. She has written recently on immigration policy for The Hill.

Previously Julie served as a senior staff attorney for Casa Myrna Vazquez, where she represented survivors of commercial sexual and labor exploitation and engaged in systemic advocacy to remove barriers for survivors seeking to exit exploitation. She has served as a member of the Massachusetts Human Trafficking Task force and co-chair of its Victim Services Subcommittee.

Julie will discuss the expanding, evolving concept of human trafficking in the United States. What is human trafficking? When is an expansive definition of trafficking justifiable? How does trafficking relate to existing concepts—like domestic violence, sexual assault, labor exploitation, and prostitution—with which it often overlaps? Since 2000, Congress and all fifty states have passed legislation with varying definitions of the crime of human trafficking, presenting new and important challenges to protection and enforcement in the anti-trafficking field.

Maddalena Marinari

Maddalena Marinari

Speaker at the 2019 International Affairs Conference

Maddalena Marinari, who teaches history at Gustavus Adolphus College, is the author of Unwanted: Italian And Jewish Mobilization Against Restrictive Immigration Laws, 1882–1965, forthcoming from the University of North Carolina Press. She is also an editor (with Maria Cristina Garcia and Madeline Hsu) of A Nation of Immigrants Reconsidered: U.S. Society in an Age of Restriction, 1924-1965, an anthology on the impact of immigration restriction on the United States in the twentieth century. An immigrant herself, Maddalena has long been interested in the impact of immigration laws on immigrants, immigration flows, and American identity.

Ana Levy-Lyons

Ana Levy-Lyons

Minister of the Week at the 2019 International Affairs Conference

The Reverend Ana Levy-Lyons serves as senior minister of First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn. She is the author of No Other Gods: The Politics of the Ten Commandments, which reintroduces the Ten Commandments as practices for spiritual liberation and political resistance. She is a contributing editor for Tikkun magazine and has just finished writing a guide to preaching about climate change and ecological consciousness for the Center for Earth Ethics and The Climate Reality Project.

Ana lives on the upper west side of Manhattan with her husband Jeff and eight-year-old twins, Miriam and Micah, who are all excited to be joining her on the island. She writes, “I’m thrilled to be coming to Star Island to spend a week with all of you. The natural beauty and elemental power of the island are a perfect setting for opening our hearts to the world around us. I hope we can all use our worship time together and our private meditation and prayer time to reground ourselves in our connections with the earth, sea, and sky.”

Daniel Kanstroom

Daniel Kanstroom

Speaker at the 2019 International Affairs Conference

Daniel Kanstroom author of Deportation Nation, Outsiders in American History, is currently working on a new book, Deportation World, which will explore the rise of deportation as a global phenomenon. Together with his students and co-counsel, he has provided counsel for hundreds of clients, won dozens of immigration and asylum cases (and lost a few), and authored amicus briefs for the U.S. Supreme Court and many other courts.

Dan is professor of law and Thomas F. Carney Distinguished Scholar at Boston College Law School, where he teaches immigration and refugee law, international human rights law, Constitutional law, and administrative law. He is co-director of the Center for Human Rights and International Justice and of the Post-Deportation Human Rights Project, which seeks to conceptualize and develop a new field of law while representing US deportees abroad. He founded the Boston College Immigration and Asylum clinic in which students represent indigent migrants and asylum-seekers.

Dan’s articles, book reviews and op-eds have appeared in the Harvard Law Review, the Yale Journal of International Law, the UCLA Law Review, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the French Gazette du Palais, and many other venues.

Pardis Mahdavi

Pardis Mahdavi

Speaker at the 2019 International Affairs Conference

Pardis Mahdavi is the author of Crossing the Gulf, a pathbreaking study of the lives of migrants in the cities of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Kuwait City. Through stories of the intimate lives of women and their families, she shows how laws and policies can lead migrants into illegality, statelessness, deportation, detention, and abuse.
Pardis is currently Acting Dean of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. Before coming to Denver, she served as professor and chair of anthropology, dean of women, and director of the Pacific Basin Institute at Pomona College. She is a graduate of Occidental College, with a master’s in international affairs and PhD in sociomedical sciences and anthropology from Columbia.

In addition to Crossing the Gulf, Pardis has authored three books and edited one more in addition to numerous journal and news articles and is completing a work of literary fiction based on fifteen years of ethnographic fieldwork. Her current work looks at the linkages between culture, diplomacy, and the ethics of engagement.
Pardis has been a fellow at the Social Sciences Research Council, the American Council on Learned Societies, Google Ideas, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.