Imagining a Society that is a Bridge to All

Thursday, April 22, 2021, 5 - 6pm

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Edafe Okporo will share his personal story of coming to America as an asylum seeker, his work with refugees in New York. He will engage the audience in some exercises to understand how our bias towards refugees and displaced people are shaped and what we can do to build an inclusive society for LGBTQ people, refugees, and marginalized people. 

The event is open to current Cooper Union students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Registration required.

Edafe OkporoEdafe Okporo is a global gay rights activist and the executive director of the RDJ Refugee Shelter in Harlem. The shelter helps refugees transition to life in America. He is author of the forthcoming book Asylum, a Memoir & Manifesto by Simon and Schuster and founder of The Pont.

This series is co-organized by the Office of Student Affairs and Associate Dean Nada Ayad as a continuation of a reading and discussion series for first-year students that was held as part of the Fall 2020 new student orientation. In the spirit of The Cooper Union mission, the Black Student Union and the Cooper Climate Coalition, along with several other Cooper students and faculty, were deeply involved in the articulation of the program as well as in contributing to the reading list and suggesting speakers.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.