UM Mansfield Center Hosts Migration Forum

April 04, 2019

MISSOULA –  The Mansfield Center at the University of Montana will host a forum on migration featuring Central American participants in a U.S. State Department leadership program. The event will take place at 7 p.m., Thursday, April 11, at the Public House at 130 E. Broadway in Missoula.

The event will feature guests from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras now visiting Montana as part of a U.S. Department of State Sports Diplomacy exchange. Most of the people detained at the border trying to enter the United States come from these three countries. The speakers will discuss the context in which migration occurs, as well as how it affects families and communities. 

UM political science Professor Paul Haber also will address the history and landscape of Central American migration, and law Professor Anthony Johnstone will discuss the constitutional implications of the current crisis at the border.

Bob Seidenschwarz, president emeritus of the World Affairs Council, will moderate the talk. Audience members are invited to engage with speakers in a moderated Q-and-A session, as well as during a reception immediately following the forum.

The Mansfield Center builds understanding among people and cultures while fostering globally minded leaders of integrity in Montana and around the world.

“This forum is one in a continuing series designed to engage the community in balanced public discourse on issues of critical importance to our country and the world,” said Mansfield Center Executive Director Deena Mansour. “Such sessions often capitalize on the opportunity to share personal stories and expertise with international visitors. This forum is especially timely given recent developments to reduce U.S. aid to these three countries and discussions of closing the border.”

In July 2018, 20 Montanan youth and professionals traveled to El Salvador on an all-expense-paid program as a part of the U.S. Department of State’s Sports Diplomacy Sport for Social Change program, under the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

In exchange, 26 Central Americans are in Montana through April 13, working with their Montana counterparts on ways that sports can play a role in youth development. The program builds ethics of teamwork and self-discipline in youth that can lead to success in other aspects of their lives.

As part of its suite of international exchange programs, the Mansfield Center has hosted Sports Diplomacy exchanges since 2013, sending Montanans to China, Laos and El Salvador.  In May 2019, a delegation will travel to Peru.

The U.S. Department of State Sports Diplomacy division was created to increase dialogue and cultural understanding between people around the world through sports. The division’s use of sports as a platform exposes international exchange participants to U.S. culture while providing them with an opportunity to establish links with U.S. sports professionals and peers.

In turn, Americans learn about foreign cultures and the challenges young people from other countries face today. Sports Diplomacy has involved tens of thousands of people from more than 100 countries in sports exchanges.

For more information on Mansfield sports diplomacy exchanges, visit


Contact: Kelsey Stamm Jimenez, program director, UM Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center, 406-243-2838,