Provost Forum 2019 Speaker, Moderator, and Co-chair Biographies

Immigration in a Divided World

Forum Co-chairs

Abbas Benmamoun

Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement and Forum Co-chair Abbas Benmamoun
Abbas Benmamoun is the Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement and Professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies and Linguistics.  In his role as Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement since 2017, he provides leadership, guidance, and oversight of University-wide strategies and programs to support faculty excellence.  The office oversees faculty development programs and partners with Duke schools, departments, and other academic programs to advance faculty careers and enhance faculty success at Duke.  Benmamoun earned his BA from the Mohammed V University in Rabat, Morocco, master’s degree from University College London, and PhD from the University of Southern California.  He served on the faculty and administration of the University of Illinois and the faculty of the University of Wisconsin and the University of London’s School of Oriental & African Studies.  Benmamoun’s research focuses on the comparative syntax and morphology of natural language and heritage languages, particularly on issues of language maintenance and loss within immigrant communities.  His publications include The Feature Structure of Functional Categories:  A Comparative Study of Arabic Dialects (Oxford University Press), Arabic Syntax (Cambridge University Press), and The Routledge Handbook of Arabic Linguistics (Routledge).


Noah Pickus

Associate Provost and Senior Advisor at Duke University and Provost Forum Co-chair Noah Pickus
Noah Pickus is Associate Provost and Senior Advisor at Duke University, Dean of Undergraduate Curricular Affairs and Faculty Development at Duke Kunshan University, and Professor of the Practice at the Sanford School of Public Policy.  Pickus was previously the Nannerl O. Keohane Director of the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University and the founding director of the Institute for Emerging Issues at NC State University.  He currently co-directs the Arizona State University-Georgetown University Academy for Innovation in Higher Education Leadership Intensive Program.  He previously co-directed the Brookings-Duke Immigration Policy Roundtable and is the author of True Faith and Allegiance:  Immigration and American Civic Nationalism (Princeton University Press), Immigration and Citizenship in the 21st Century (Rowman & Littlefield) and a Brookings-Duke policy report, Breaking the Immigration Stalemate:  From Deep Disagreements to Constructive Proposals.


October 16

5:30-7:00 pm 

Moderated Conversation I - Immigration Between Nationalism and Humanitarianism

Moderator:  Suzanne Shanahan

Suzanne Shanahan, Kenan Institute for Ethics Director
Suzanne Shanahan is Nannerl O. Keohane Director of the Kenan Institute for Ethics and Associate Research Professor in Sociology at Duke University. Suzanne also directs the Kenan Refugee Project and DukeEngage Dublin. Her current research focuses on forced migration and moral responsibility. More specifically, Shanahan’s work explores the impact of displacement on refugee well-being and moral boundaries before and after resettlement with particular focus on Bhutanese, Iraqi and Syrian refugees. This community-based research is a collaboration with communities both in the Middle East and with newcomer communities in North Carolina. Other work explores the dynamics of racial collective action in the United States and Europe.



Michael Brendan Dougherty

Michael Brendan Dougherty
Michael Brendan Dougherty is the author of My Father Left Me Ireland: An American Son’s Search for Home (Sentinel, 2019). He is a senior writer at National Review. He is a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute’s Social, Cultural, and Constitutional Studies division, where he is researching the republican tradition in American political thought.  Previously, Dougherty served as Senior Writer at The Week, Politics Editor at Business Insider, and Senior Writer at The American Conservative.  His work has been featured in numerous publications including ESPN Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, The American Spectator, and Politico.  



Jose Antonio Vargas

Jose Antonio Vargas
Jose Antonio Vargas is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Emmy-nominated filmmaker, and theatrical producer. A leading voice for the human rights of immigrants, he founded the non-profit media and culture organization Define American, named one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company. His best-selling memoir, Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen, was published by HarperCollins in 2018. Most recently, he co-produced Heidi Schreck’s acclaimed play What the Constitution Means to Me, which opened on Broadway in spring 2019.

In 2011, The New York Times Magazine published a groundbreaking essay he wrote in which he revealed and chronicled his life in America as an undocumented immigrant. A year later, he appeared on the cover of TIME magazine worldwide with fellow undocumented immigrants as part of a follow-up cover story he wrote. He then produced and directed "Documented", an autobiographical documentary feature film that aired on CNN and received a 2015 NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Documentary. Also in 2015, MTV aired "White People", an Emmy-nominated television special he produced and directed on what it means to be young and white in a demographically-changing America.

Among accolades he has received are the Freedom to Write Award from PEN Center USA and honorary degrees from Colby College and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Passionate about the role of arts in society and promoting equity in education, he serves on the advisory board of TheDream.US, a scholarship fund for undocumented immigrant students.

A product of the San Francisco Bay Area, he is a proud graduate of San Francisco State University (’04), where he was named Alumnus of the Year in 2012, and Mountain View High School (’00). An elementary school named after Vargas opened in his hometown of Mountain View, California in August, 2019.


October 17

9:30-11:15 am 

Moderated Conversation II – Options for a Fragile World:  Immigrants and Refugees in the US and Europe


Moderator: Deondra Rose

Deondra Rose
Deondra Rose is an Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Political Science in the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University.  Her research focuses on US higher education policy, political behavior, American political development, and the politics of inequality.  She is the author of Citizens By Degree: Higher Education Policy and the Changing Gender Dynamics of American Politics (Oxford University Press, 2018).  Rose serves as the Director of Research for the Center for Politics, Leadership, Innovation, and Service (POLIS) at Duke, and as Co-director of the North Carolina Scholars Strategy Network (SSN).  A summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Georgia, Rose received her MA and PhD in Government from Cornell University, with a specialization in American politics and public policy.



Michael Hardt

Michael Hardt
Michael Hardt teaches political theory in the Literature Program at Duke University.  His most recent book, coauthored with Antonio Negri, Assembly (Oxford University Press, 2017) addresses the organization and political potential of contemporary “leaderless” social movements.  He serves as editor of the South Atlantic Quarterly and, together with Sandro Mezzadra, directs the “Social Movements Lab” at Duke.  He has also participated since summer 2018 in Mediterranea, an Italian activist project for migrant aid and rescue in the Mediterranean Sea, and is a member of the board of directors of the migrant aid non-profit Saving Humans USA.



Eric Kaufmann

Eric Kaufmann
Eric Kaufmann is Professor and Assistant Dean of Politics at Birkbeck College, University of London. He is the author of Whiteshift: Immigration, Populism and the Future of White Majorities (Penguin/Abrams, 2018/19); Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth (Profile Books, 2010), The Rise and Fall of Anglo-America (Harvard, 2004), The Orange Order (Oxford, 2007) and one other book. He wrote a report for the think tank Demos entitled Changing Places: mapping the white British response to ethnic change (Demos, 2014). He has written numerous journal articles, focusing in the past decade on quantitative studies of public opinion and voting (Google Scholar profile: 2347 citations, h-index 24, i10-index 44). He is co-editor, among others, of Political Demography (Oxford, 2012) and editor of Rethinking Ethnicity: Majority Groups and Dominant Minorities (Routledge, 2004). An editor of the journal Nations & Nationalism, he has written for Newsweek International, Foreign Affairs, New Statesman and Prospect magazines and his work has been covered in major newspapers and magazines in the UK and US since 2007.



Ana Raquel Minian

Ana Raquel Minian
Ana Raquel Minian is an Associate Professor in the Department of History at Stanford University.  Her first book, Undocumented Lives:  The Untold Story of Mexican Migration (Harvard University Press, 2018) explores how unauthorized migration from Mexico to the United States became an entrenched phenomenon in the years between 1965 and 1986.  A version of a chapter of Minian's book entitled "De Terruño a Terruño:  Re-imagining Belonging Through Clubes Sociales,” was published in The Journal of American History in June 2017.  It analyzes the growth of migrant organizations that sent aid to Mexico from Los Angeles between the early 1960s to the mid-1980s.  Beyond work from her book, she also published “Indiscriminate and Shameless Sex:  The Strategic Use of Sexuality by the United Farm Workers” in American Quarterly in 2013.  This article examines the ways in which the union used a sexual discourse to propagate its labor goals.

Minian’s second book project, No Man’s Lands:  North American Migration and the Remaking of Peoples and Places, examines how during the late Cold War and its aftermath, US officials created new spaces and territories designed to prevent Latin American and Spanish-speaking Caribbean migrants from entering the United States.

Minian is also writing a history about immigration detention in the United States.



Peter Wehner

Peter Wehner
Peter Wehner is Vice President and Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, DC and the Pamela and Jack Egan Visiting Professor at the Sanford School of Public Policy and Trinity College of Arts & Sciences at Duke University. He is a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times and a contributing editor for The Atlantic magazine. Mr. Wehner has written for numerous other publications—including TIME magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Financial Times, The Weekly Standard, National Review, Commentary, National Affairs, and Christianity Today. He has also appeared frequently as a commentator on MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, CBS, PBS, and C-SPAN television. 

Mr. Wehner served in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush Administrations prior to becoming deputy director of speechwriting for President George W. Bush. In 2002, he was asked to head the Office of Strategic Initiatives, where he generated policy ideas, reached out to public intellectuals, published op-eds and essays, and provided counsel on a range of domestic and international issues. He has also served as an adviser to several presidential campaigns. 

Mr. Wehner is author of City of Man: Religion and Politics in a New Era (co-authored with Michael J. Gerson) and Wealth and Justice: The Morality of Democratic Capitalism (co-authored with Arthur C. Brooks). His book The Death of Politics: How to Heal Our Frayed Republic After Trump (HarperCollins) was published in June 2019.


12 Noon - 1:00 pm

Keynote Address, "Immigration as a Test of Our Values"


Nicholas Kristof

Nicholas Kristof
How good do you really have to be, to be christened the reporter’s reporter…by other reporters? You have to be Nicholas Kristof – good. After working in France, Kristof began backpacking in Africa and Asia, writing articles to cover his expenses. He’s lived on four continents, reported on six, and traveled to more than 150 countries. During his travels, he has caught malaria, experienced wars, confronted warlords, encountered an Indonesian mob carrying heads on pikes, and survived an African airplane crash. Kristof not only managed to survive and press on, he also won two Pulitzers in the process – advocating for human rights and giving a voice to the voiceless.  

In 1990 Kristof and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, then also a New York Times journalist, became the first husband-wife team to win a Pulitzer Prize for journalism for their coverage of China’s Tiananmen Square democracy movement. Kristof won his second Pulitzer in 2006 for what the judges called “his graphic, deeply reported columns that, at personal risk, focused attention on genocide in Darfur and that gave voice to the voiceless in other parts of the world.” Kristof and WuDunn have written four best-selling books: Half the Sky, A Path Appears, China Wakes, and Thunder from the East. Oprah Winfrey devoted two full programs to their work, and they have been on countless other television programs. Half the Sky and A Path Appears each inspired a prime-time PBS documentary series. Archbishop Desmond Tutu dubbed Kristof as “an honorary African” for his reporting on conflicts there. President Bill Clinton said, “There is no one in journalism, anywhere in the United States at least, who has done anything like the work he has done to figure out how poor people are actually living around the world, and what their potential is."  

After joining The New York Times in 1984, Kristof served as a correspondent in Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Beijing, and Tokyo. He has covered presidential politics, interviewed everyone from President Obama to Iranian President Ahmadinejad, and was the first blogger on The New York Times website. A documentary about him, "Reporter", executive-produced by Ben Affleck, aired on HBO, and he has millions of followers on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Kristof has won innumerable awards including the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, the Anne Frank Award and the Fred Cuny Award for Prevention of Armed Conflict. He also serves on the boards of Harvard University and the Association of American Rhodes Scholars.   Jeffrey Toobin of CNN, his Harvard classmate, said of Kristof: "I’m not surprised to see him emerge as the moral conscience of our generation of journalists. I am surprised to see him as the Indiana Jones of our generation of journalists.” George Clooney, said himself, that he became engaged in Sudan after reading Kristof columns, and traveled with Kristof to the fringes of Darfur – rooming with him on the floor of a cheap hotel – motivating Clooney to make this video of Kristof:   As a speaker, Nicholas Kristof always keeps audiences on the edge of their seats with his moving storytelling and incomparable insights into the events that shape our world. Audiences are captivated by his global adventures and leave inspired to drive change, take on challenges and make a difference. As one lecture series attested, “You could hear a pin drop in the auditorium because he was spellbinding.”


1:15-2:30 pm

Moderated Conversation III – Immigration and The University


Moderator:  Kerry Abrams

Kerry Abrams, Dean, Duke Law School
Kerry Abrams is the James B. Duke and Benjamin N. Duke Dean of the School of Law and Professor of Law at Duke University. Dean Abrams teaches courses in immigration, citizenship, and family law, and is well known for scholarly writing on family-based migration, the legal regulation of immigrant families, the history of immigration law, and constitutional family rights.  Prior to her appointment at Duke Law, Dean Abrams served on the law faculty of the University of Virginia for thirteen years, and, more recently, as Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs. In 2011, she was named the Albert Clark Tate, Jr., Research Professor of Law, and in 2012, she received the McFarland Award for excellence in legal scholarship. As Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, she was responsible for university-wide faculty recruitment and retention, faculty policies, the promotion and tenure process, and professional and leadership development programs for faculty.   



Charles Clotfelter

Charles Clotfelter
Charles Clotfelter is Z. Smith Reynolds Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Economics and Law at Duke University, where he has taught since 1979.  He is also a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research.  His major research interests are in the economics of education, the nonprofit sector, and public finance.  He is the author of Unequal Colleges in the Age of Disparity (Harvard University Press, 2017), Big-Time Sports in American Universities (Cambridge University Press, 2011), After Brown: The Rise and Retreat of School Desegregation (Princeton University Press, 2004), Buying the Best: Cost Escalation in Elite Higher Education (Princeton University Press, 1996), and Federal Tax Policy and Charitable Giving (University of Chicago Press, 1985). He is also coauthor (with Philip Cook) of Selling Hope: State Lotteries in America (Princeton University Press, 1989) and has coauthored or edited five other books pertaining to higher education and the nonprofit sector. He was co-winner of the Gladys M. Kammerer prize, awarded by the American Political Science Association for the best political science publication in the field of US national policy in 2004, for After Brown: The Rise and Retreat of School Desegregation. In 2011, he was selected to give the Spencer Foundation Award Lecture at the meetings of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management. In 2015 he was elected to the National Academy of Education.

Clotfelter received a BA from Duke University in 1969, where he majored in history, summa cum laude, and he received a PhD in economics from Harvard University in 1974. Before coming to Duke, he taught at the University of Maryland, spending his last year there on leave at the US Treasury’s Office of Tax Analysis. While at Duke, he has served as Vice Provost for Academic Policy and Planning, Vice Chancellor, Vice Provost for Academic Programs, and Associate Dean of Academic Programs at the Sanford School of Public Policy. He has also served as President of the Southern Economic Association.



Karin Fischer  
Karin Fischer
Karin Fischer is a higher-education journalist and a research associate at the Center for Studies in Higher Education at the University of California at Berkeley. She focuses on international education, including American colleges’ activities overseas, the globalization of the college experience, international systems of higher education, and study abroad. Her extensive reporting on international-student recruitment and the experience of foreign students in the United States has been collected in a special publication, Chinese Journey: Student Migrations, Family Dreams and What Happens Next (The Chronicle of Higher Education, February 2017). She also writes about US higher education policy and the relationship between colleges and the economy. Her work has appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education, The New York Times, EdSource, The Washington Monthly, and University World News. Ms. Fischer is a recipient of the East-West Center’s Jefferson Fellowship for reporting in Asia and the International Reporting Project Fellowship. Her work has been honored by the Education Writers Association, the National Press Foundation, and the Poynter Institute. She is a graduate of Smith College, in Northampton, Massachusetts.



Eisha Jain

Eisha Jain, 2019-2020 Visiting Professor of Law, Duke University
Professor Eisha Jain is a 2019-2020 Visiting Professor of Law at the Duke University School of Law (teaching Immigration Law and Criminal Law) and Assistant Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Her research focuses on immigration enforcement and the blurring boundaries between civil and criminal law.  She has recently written about interior immigration enforcement, arrests, and collateral consequences.  Her publications appear or are forthcoming in the Stanford Law Review, the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, the Duke Law Journal, and the Georgetown Law Journal, among others.  Prior to joining the UNC faculty in 2016, Jain held a law research fellowship at Georgetown University Law Center where she taught Criminal Law.  She also previously taught Immigration Enforcement at the University of Virginia School of Law.  For her civil rights work, she was selected as a Public Justice Trial Lawyer of the Year Finalist.  Jain earned her JD from Yale Law School, where she served as a student director in the Immigration and Child Advocacy clinics and was awarded the Michael Egger Prize for the best student article published in the Yale Law Journal on a current social problem  She clerked for Judge Walter K. Stapleton of the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.