The University of Rhode Island is hosting a European Refugee Crisis Panel as a part of German Campus Week to meet for open discussion.

“It’s a grand human tragedy occurring in front of our eyes,” said Richard McIntyre, a professor of economics at URI, of the current European refugee crisis. McIntyre will be participating in the panel when they meet for discussion today at the Alumni Center from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The panel will consist of four faculty members, including professors and assistant professors from an array of departments.  These panelists are experts in their field of study, and will be able to contribute much to the discussion relative to their knowledge of the topic.  

Guest speakers include McIntyre, Michael Honhart, professor of history, Norbert Hedderich, professor of German and department chair of languages and Katrin Jomaa, assistant professor of political science.  

Jomaa is originally from Lebanon, one of the “safer” countries in which Syrians are finding new homes, so she will be able to speak on the country personally.  The panelists plan to discuss issues involving the mass migration and answer any questions the audience may have concerning the issue. Sigrid Berka, executive director of the international engineering program, organized the event and will moderate it as well.  

“It is recent history,” Hedderich said. “We’re not talking about something that has happened more than a decade ago.”

Though the event is part of German Campus Week, Germany  is not the only country involved in this conflict.  There are currently people fleeing Syria, Afghanistan and Eritrea to seek shelter in European countries from the Syrian civil war. Europe’s economic stability is the main attraction, as well as its close proximity.  Many refugees have fled to Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt.  Not many have fled to the United States, but it is possible that some will land in the U.S. in search of a new life.

The event is beneficial to those planning on traveling overseas to pursue a study-abroad program in the near future, as well as for those who want to be in the loop on current events.

“Those who are interested will attend, beginners, followers and experts of all kind,” McIntyre said. “This is an issue of the moment and everyone should be involved.”

In a recent German council that took place on campus, many students asked questions and were interested in the subject. “I expect the same from the discussion on a much broader topic,” Hedderich said. “It’s a great opportunity to get to know professors as well as catch up on what’s happening in the world.”