The Genesis Center hosted a 4-week series called, "Common Threads: From Vietnam to Iraq" from January 21 - Feb 12, 2009.
Exploring the similarities among various displaced populations over the past 30-40 years proved to be a thought provoking project. Participants raised awareness with students and scholars of higher education, community leaders of Providence, and new and not-so-new immigrants and refugees.
The success of this project, thanks to the co-sponsorship by The Office of Public Engagement of RISD and The Swearer Center of Brown University, demonstrates the impact our local universities can make to the community. The Genesis Center thanks these universities for looking beyond their campuses and into the very heart of Providence—its people.
This project helped The Genesis Center raise awareness around issues that face us daily as we assist over 600 adults annually (many of whom are immigrants and refugees) through English classes, work readiness, and job placement. Common Threads helped us reconnect with members of the larger community who have dedicated much of their lives to missions similar to our own. It, also, helped us meet new potential supporters for our cause.
From an art standpoint, our venue (The Center for Integrative Technology, RISD) should be proud of hosting such an eclectic series. Each week we explored storytelling using different mediums. During the first week we explored the ancient art form of story cloths through priceless Hmong pa n’daus. The second week we showed a Hmong documentary from 1982 by RISD professor, Peter O’Neil, which was then contrasted to his current sequel he’s making using digital technology. Peter’s talk afterwards with Charles Kue was remarkable. Oral storytelling was the focus of week three as we held a group discussion where we learned from each other’s personal experiences with immigration and displacement. The final week demonstrated an impressive graduate student project by RISD students which projected the personal stories from Iraq through modern means—the internet, video streaming, and blogging.
On Thursday, June 4th at 10:30 am inside the 130-year old chapel of the newly renovated Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish (791 Potters Ave, Providence), the Genesis Center will hold a graduation ceremony for the adult students of its English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes. The event is free and open to the public. The agenda is as follows:
Genesis Center Board Chair
Genesis Center Graduate & Independent Man Award Recipient 2007
Presentation of Certificates
Adult Education Director & ESOL Teachers
At Genesis Center