Democracy, Refugees, and Asylum

Presented in partnership with IRIS-Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services

Historian Quan Tran, sociologist Jasmina Besirevic-Regan, and Nour Al Zouabi, a Syrian refugee, share their personal stories and professional perspectives on borders, migration, and democracy. Bring your questions and curiosities to this interactive event with our partners at IRIS

Quan T. Tran

Quan T. Tran is a lecturer in Ethnicity, Race, and Migration and American Studies and ER&M’s senior essay coordinator. She earned her PhD in American Studies from Yale University. Her research and teaching interests include critical refugee studies; Vietnamese boat people; Asian American studies; diaspora and transnational studies; comparative ethnic studies; migration studies; memory studies; and food studies. Her scholarly publications appear in the Journal of Vietnamese Studies; Amerasia Journal; the Journal of Southeast Asian American Education & Advancement; and in edited volumes including Looking Back on the Vietnam War: Twenty-first Century Perspectives; and Asian America: A Primary Source Reader. Her book manuscript, Anchoring Vietnamese Boat People’s History and Memory, examines refugee identity, community, and cultural formations in the Vietnamese diaspora by tracing the late twentieth century Vietnamese boat refugee exodus and contemporary efforts in commemorating that mass migration in Southeast Asia, Western Europe, Australia, North America and cyberspace. Dr. Tran is also a published poet and translator. Her poetry and translations appear in Troubling Borders: An Anthology of Art and Literature by Southeast Asian Women in the Diaspora; Thế Kỷ 21; and

Jasmina Besirevic-Regan

Jasmina Besirevic-Regan is the Dean of Trumbull College, and a faculty member in the Departments of Sociology, Global Affairs, and Ethnicity, Race and Migration at Yale University. She graduated from Augsburg College summa cum laude, a small liberal arts college in Minneapolis, MN, earning the Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology. In 2004, she received her Ph.D. in Sociology from Yale having also earned the Master’s degrees here. Her dissertation on ethnic cleansing in the Bosnian city of Banja Luka focuses on the emergence of a Bosnian Muslim refugee community. Her teaching and research interests include genocide and ethnic conflict, identity, and nationalism. Her current work focuses on the Bosnian Muslim identity and disintegration of former Yugoslavia. She has presented papers on the sociology of genocide at a number of professional meetings and has been invited to speak at international conferences both at Yale and abroad. She is a member of the IRIS board.

Nour Al Zouabi

Nour left Syria for Jordan in 2012 and then moved to the US with her parents and six siblings in 2016 and was welcomed by IRIS. She is a rising Sophomore at UConn majoring in physiology and neurobiology and minoring in chemistry, molecular and cell biology, and Arabic and Islamic civilizations.

Zeenie Malik


Zeenie Malik is the Community Engagement & Events Specialist at Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services (IRIS). She works as part of IRIS' mission to welcome and empower refugees and immigrants from all over the world, to Connecticut's community. Zeenie holds a Bachelors of Arts in psychology from Boston University.