Introducing Cameren Lofton
By Cameren Lofton on November 19, 2019
My name is Cameren Lofton, and I am the Program Assistant for The Exodus Institute and UNC Center for European Studies’(CES) new partnership. Originally from McDonough, Georgia, I am currently a Senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill studying Political Science and Contemporary European Studies with a minor in German. On campus, I am involved in a student theatre group, the Black Arts Theatre Company. In addition, I am a member of the Working Group on Refugees, Europe, and Service-Learning (WRESL) through the Center for European Studies (CES) and Honors Carolina’s Excel Program. Though I have studied many topics throughout my years at UNC, I have a special interest in political behavior and the politics of immigration.
This past summer I spent six weeks in Hannover, Germany conducting research on creative methods of integration that give more agency to migrants. Part of my research focused on a play that was comprised mostly of refugees from the Middle East and migrants from Eastern Europe. The play, Die Insel (The Island), was funded by the city of Hannover as part of a larger effort to support alternative approaches to the process of integration. Instead of the traditional, classroom-style method of integration, the actors in the play were encouraged to embrace their individuality by writing the script for the play together and helping with the setup of the production. All the participants, excluding the three native Germans, reported that their German skills and knowledge of the political concepts of democracy and civilization improved from their experience with Die Insel. My experience with this play highlighted that this nontraditional method of integration gave the refugees and migrants more agency in the difficult process of acclimating to a new country.
As Program Assistant for this partnership between The Exodus Institute and CES, I am tasked with organizing and executing events that raise awareness on the multitude of issues concerning refugees and migrants. I will be organizing events that aim to educate and foster deep discussion on issues related to migration. Furthermore, I will be collaborating with other campus groups and organizations who have an interest in or connection to the issue of forced migration to ensure that groups with similar interests and goals are aware of and communicating with each other. Through this partnership, I hope to generate a dialogue that addresses the complexities and nuances present in the issue of migration and encourages positive action toward migrant communities living in and around Chapel Hill.