Wednesday, October 28th at 12 p.m. UM J-School professor Henriette Löwisch will speak about her home country Germany as a part of ‘Walking on Water: The Refugee Crisis and European Contradictions,’ a presentation sponsored by the Central & Southwest Asian Studies Center. Löwisch’s talk is focused on Germany’s leadership role in the European refugee crisis, and echoes efforts in the journalism school to tell stories of immigration and human movement.
Löwisch came to the journalism school after a career with the international wire service Agence France-Presse, and will be co-leading a study abroad program in Berlin this summer, where she lives when not in Missoula. The trip is directed by the School of Journalism and will focus on telling stories from the refugee influx to Germany.
“The trip will be a model for how future study abroad programs can work: follow the news to tell big stories around the world,” Löwisch said. Seventeen students have signed up for the program thus far.
Stories of human migration are also present in Montana, and this fall semester students in the Advanced Multimedia class have been seeking out immigrants in Montana to report on what brought them here and on adjusting to a new life in the state. The project includes past refugees, as well as those who immigrated to Montana for other reasons.
Shanti Johnson, a graduate student in the class, has been working with a family of Vietnamese refugees in Missoula. “I’m being led into a world of Southeast Asian traditions and histories I never expected to find this far north,” she said.
As for Löwisch upcoming talk, she believes that Germany and its Chancellor Angela Merkel are at the epicenter of a refugee crisis of historic proportions, reshaping the country as well as Europe. “Merkel has undergone a dramatic transformation in terms of political goals. I’m looking looking forward to explaining Merkel to my fellow Montanans,” Löwisch said.
By Andrew Graham