Elizaveta Bekmanis—2014 Fellow

Elizaveta Bekmanis

Year: Class of 2016
Major: Political Science & International Studies
Organization: International Institute of Minnesota

As a Chuck Green Fellow at the International Institute of Minnesota, I had the privilege of working in refugee resettlement and conducting research at the University of Minnesota Immigration History Research Center. My decision to carry out a summer project related to immigration was rooted primarily in my own experience growing up as a Russian immigrant in Germany, but I had also become increasingly interested in immigration academically at Macalester.

The International Institute of Minnesota is a voluntary agency that provides a variety of services to immigrants in the Twin Cities. Their refugee resettlement office in particular cooperates with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, the Department of State and the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants to resettle refugees to the Twin Cities Area. During my Chuck Green Project, my days were typically split between assisting refugee resettlement case managers with various tasks related to the arrival of new refugees in Minnesota, and working in the archives of the Immigration History Research Center to reconstruct narratives of refugees resettled by the International Institute since the aftermath of World War II. I especially enjoyed working on family reunification applications and helping to create a body of research that will can be expanded and used for the Institute’s 100th anniversary celebrations in 2018/2019.