HKS Ash Center to Host Discussion on Integrating Immigrant Communities in Lawrence, Mass.

March 20, 2014
HKS Ash Center to Host Discussion on Integrating Immigrant Communities in Lawrence, Mass.

Cambridge, Mass. −  The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, in partnership with WBUR 90.9 FM, Lawrence Community Works, Lawrence History Center, and Qniversity, will host a discussion on integrating immigrant communities in Lawrence, Massachusetts on March 31st.

Known as the “Immigrant City,” the history of Lawrence has been shaped by immigration since its founding over a century and a half ago. Today the city claims one of the highest proportions of immigrants in the state and a unique approach to integrating immigrant groups into the community fabric of the city. As part of its Challenges to Democracy tenth anniversary public dialogue series, the Ash Center will convene a discussion to examine how Lawrence and communities like it across the country are on the frontlines – dealing with important questions and tensions that immigration can present.

The panel – moderated by WBUR’s Asma Khalid and with Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera making opening remarks – will highlight how Lawrence has strived to welcome generations of immigrants into the economic, civic and political life of its community. The discussion will be an opportunity to reflect on what the city has learned from its efforts to integrate new arrivals: what has and hasn’t worked; future steps the city and community can take; and finally, what others cities can learn from the Lawrence experience.

Panelists will include Jessica Andors of Lawrence Community Works; Sister Eileen Burns of Notre Dame Education Center-Lawrence; Zoila Gomez, immigration attorney; Eliana Martinez of Lawrence International High School; and Archon Fung, Ford Foundation Professor of Democracy and Citizenship at the Harvard Kennedy School.

The discussion, which will be proceeded by a reception, will take place Monday, March 31, 2014 from 5:30-7:30 pm, at Qniversity’s open meeting space on the 2nd floor of Union Crossing, 50 Island Street, Lawrence. The event is open to the public and free of charge. No RSVP is required. Spanish language interpretation will also be available.

The discussion will also serve as a preview for the April 5 symposium hosted by the Lawrence History Center: The History of the “New Immigration” Into Lawrence, Massachusetts and Similar Communities.

Challenges to Democracy

This panel discussion is part of the Ash Center’s ongoing Challenges to Democracy public dialogue series hosted in commemoration of the Center’s 10th anniversary. Please visit to find more information and sign up for updates and invitation to future events, read notable ideas from past events, dig deeper into the greatest threats to democracy and the most promising solutions, and offer your own comments and contributions.

About the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation
The Roy and Lila Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation advances excellence and innovation in governance and public policy through research, education and public discussion. Three major programs support our mission: the Program on Democratic Governance; the Innovations in Government Program; and the Rajawali Foundation Institute for Asia. For more information, visit

For more information, contact:

Daniel Harsha
Ash Center