ISF 2017 | Migration & Development

ISF 2017: “Migration & Development”

The 14th International Solidarity Forum took place in New York from March 27-30, 2017. The theme of the ISF was ‘Migration & Development and brought together members and experts from across the world.

Outcome Document: Declaration on Migration & Development

Why Migration & Development?

The 14th Annual International Solidarity Forum will examine the theme of Migration and Development. Approximately 244 million people today are living outside the country of their birth, including almost 20 million refugees. The United Nations General Assembly held its 2016 Summit on migrants and refugees in recognition of the pressing nature of the issue. WYA will be examining different forms of migration as well as examining ways policies can reflect respect for the dignity of the human person. 

Conference Speakers


Fr. Fabio Baggio, is a member of the Missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo. He gained a doctorate in church history at the Pontifical Gregorian University in 1998. Fr. Baggio worked as a pastor in Santiago del Chile from 1995 to 1997, and was also advisor for migrations to the Chilean bishops’ conference (INCAMI). Afterwards until 2002, he served as director of the Department for Migration of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires. From 1999-2010, he taught at the Universidad del Salvador in Buenos Aires as well as the Ateneo di Manila and the Maryhill School of Theology at Quezon City in the Philippines, where he was director of the Scalabrini Migration Center (SMC). From the year 2000 he was also professor at the Scalabrini International Migration Institute (SIMI), which is incorporated into the theology Faculty of the Pontifical Urban University in Rome. He became its director in 2010. From 1 January 2017 he is Under-Secretary of the Refugees and Migrants Section, Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development.


Gregory A. Maniatis has been Senior Advisor to the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General for International Migration, Peter Sutherland, since 2006; Senior European Policy Fellow at the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) since 2003; and Co-Director of the International Migration Project at the Columbia Global Policy Initiative since 2014. Previously, Mr. Maniatis was Founder and Publisher of Odyssey magazine, an English-language bimonthly that is the leading international magazine about Greece and Greeks around the world. He is also a writer and producer whose reportage and commentary have been featured in the The Wall Street Journal, New York magazine, The Washington Monthly, PBS Television, and other media outlets. Mr. Maniatis is a graduate of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and a recipient of a certificate from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Paris. He is a Member of the Council on Foreign Relations.


Nadja Wolfe is the Director of Advocacy of World Youth Alliance. Her interest in human rights began when she learned about modern slavery when she was thirteen. She graduated magna cum laude from Washing- ton & Lee University where she majored in Russian Area Studies and The- atre Arts and minored in Poverty and Human Capability. Nadja worked as an English teacher in Moscow, Russia, for two years before returning to the U.S. to pursue a law degree. She graduated from William & Mary Law School in 2014 and came to WYA that autumn as an advocacy fellow. She was hired as Director of Advocacy the following year.



Juliana Taimoorazy is the Founder and President of the Iraqi Christian Relief Council, a non-profit organization in the U.S. that raises awareness about the
persecuted church in Iraq and has helped thousands of displaced Assyrian Christian families (also known as Chaldean and Syriac) throughout Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and Jordan with food, shelter, and medicine. Her organization also has helped the Assyrians who have arrived in the United States, France, and Australia as refugees. For the last 9 years, Taimoorazy has traveled throughout the US and the globe educating the public about the plight of her people throughout the Middle East.    


Michael Wessells, PhD, is Professor at Columbia University in the Program on Forced Migration and Health. A long time psychosocial and child protection practitioner, he works to insure the voice, agency, and well-being of migrant and displaced children in many different countries. Currently, he is lead researcher on inter-agency, multi-country research on community driven interventions for strengthening linkages of community- based child protection mechanisms with government led aspects of national child
protection systems. He regularly advises UN agencies, governments, and donors on issues of displacement, migration, child protection and psychosocial support, including in fluid environments. 
Lord Leomer Pomperada is the current President of World Youth Alliance. Prior to this, Lord served as WYA’s Regional Director for Asia Pacific from 2014-2015 and as Program Assistant for Communication and Development for the Center for Excellence in Governance-Institute for Solidarity in Asia. Lord also served as a Philippine Youth Ambassador to Japan and Southeast Asia under the 40th Ship for Southeast Asian Youth Program. He is the 2015 recipient of the Gawad ASEANO Youth Award, a recognition given for “significant contributions to youth development in Southeast Asia” and was recently recognized as a National Finalist for the 2015 Philippine Move Awards under the Global Mover category. Lord was born in Iloilo City, Philip- pines and graduated cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Consular and Diplomatic Affairs from De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde.