Students from four colleges and universities of the Concordia University System gathered in Austin for the 2nd Isaiah 49 Summer Institute, June 1-3. Throughout the institute, participants reflected on the theme of “Serving Immigrant and Refugee Children.” The keynote speaker, Dr. Rowena Fong of the University of Texas at Austin, School of Social Work, presented research findings about the experiences of children who are immigrants and refugees in U.S. society. She discussed the importance of culturally competent practice within the child welfare system and raised awareness regarding the issue of human trafficking, both international and domestic forms. Rev. Dr. Carl Trovall of Concordia University Texas presented theological insights on serving immigrants and refugees in his talk, “Our Contemporary Posada.” A panel of staff from Lutheran Social Services of the South also discussed their work with children and families.
In addition to these presentations, participants joined together for worship, Bible study, discussion, interactive activities, and a movie night as well as for service projects. The majority of the institute participants also took part in a pre-institute service mission trip to the Bokenkamp Children’s Center in Corpus Christi, Texas, which serves the needs of unaccompanied refugee minors from Central and South America.