Migration and Food Needs: Latin American and U.S. Perspectives Symposium

April 16 - 18, 2024
2:00 pm - 8:00 pm

The Symposium seeks to examine hunger as a key driver of migration and explore ways in which food security, food justice, and food systems can be strengthened to address the large-scale movement of refugees and migrants from a Latin American perspective. During a three-day event, scholars, practitioners, policymakers, and students will come together to explore the crucial intersections between food, migration, religion, economic opportunity, and human flourishing, including the culinary contributions of migrants to U.S. communities. Presented by The Office of the Provost,  The Department of Religion, Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty, The College of Arts and Sciences, and The School of Music. 

Registration opens 3/13 and closes 4/12.



Award-Winning Documentary Info

Keynote Speakers:

Keynote #1: Álvaro Botero Navarro (Tuesday, April 16th, 3:00-4:30pm)

Title:    Examining the Complex and Interconnected Root Causes of Migration in the Americas

Álvaro Botero Navarro
Álvaro Botero Navarro

Álvaro Botero is a practitioner and scholar with more than 20 years of professional experience and specialized expertise in international human rights law, international migration law and refugee law. He has a notable record on human rights monitoring and advocacy in the Americas, especially regarding the protection of migrants, refugees, stateless persons, internally displaced persons, and victims of human trafficking. 

Mr. Botero provides expert consult for numerous organizations including the International Labour Organization, the United Nations (UN) Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the International Organization for Migration, and he serves as a senior fellow at the Inter-American Dialogue and as a senior research associate of the Refugee Law Initiative of the University of London. He works hand-in-hand with national authorities, international organizations, and NGOs, and frequently writes for specialized publications, in addition to teaching at American University in Washington, DC.

Mr. Botero previously served as member and vice chair of the UN Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families and led the work on migrants, refugees, and forced displacement for the Secretariat on Access to Rights of the Organization of American States (OAS). He also coordinated a human rights monitoring section at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), where he previously served as Senior Specialist of the Rapporteurship on the Rights of Migrants.

He earned his law degree from the University del Norte (Colombia) and a master’s degree in Advanced Studies on Human Rights from Carlos III University of Madrid (Spain).

Keynote #2: Víctor Hinojosa (Wednesday, April 17th 9:15am – 10:45am)

Title:   “Religion, Food Security, and Migration in the Americas: Implications for Policy and Research”

Victor Hinojosa
Víctor Hinojosa

Dr. Victor J. Hinojosa is Associate Professor of Political Science in the Honors Program at Baylor University.  He is the author of Domestic Politics and International Narcotics Control (Routledge 2007) and his work has appeared in edited volumes and journals including Terrorism and Political Violence, Political Science Quarterly, and the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.  With his students, he is the author of the illustrated children's book “A Journey Toward Hope” (published simultaneously in Spanish as Una Jornada Hacia la Esperanza) which tells the story of unaccompanied children who migrate from Central America to the United States. His current academic book project co-authored with Baylor’s Dr. Matthew Whelan explores the relevance of the life and work of El Salvadoran Archbishop Óscar Romero for today’s conversations about migration in the Americas.   

Keynote #3:  Dylan Corbett (Wednesday, April 17th 11:00am-12:30 pm)

Title:    "Migration in the Americas as an Act of Hope: A Summons to Work for Human Dignity"

Dylan Corbett
Dylan Corbett

Dylan Corbett is the founder and executive director of Hope Border Institute. He has nearly fifteen years of experience working in international and human development issues globally, in Washington, DC, and in the borderlands. Previously, he worked as an official at the Vatican's
Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and coordinated the work of the Vatican's Migrants & Refugees Section in Mexico, Central America, and French- and Spanish-speaking Caribbean. Dylan also worked with the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Department of Justice, Peace, and Human Development as a staffer to the bishops of the United States, as well as with the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), the USCCB's national anti-poverty and social justice program. He has studied at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Italy. Dylan currently lives in El Paso with his wife and two children.

Keynote #4: Ericka Shawndricka Dunbar (Wednesday, April 17th 1:30 – 3:00pm)

Title: “Mobility. Insecurity, and Fragility: A Biblical Assessment of Migration and Food Crises”

Ericka Dunbar
Ericka Dunbar

Dr. Ericka Shawndricka Dunbar is an Assistant Professor of Religion at Baylor University and holds a PhD in Biblical Studies (Hebrew Bible/Old Testament) from Drew University. Her first book, Trafficking Hadassah: Collective Trauma, Cultural Memory, and Identity in the Book of Esther and the African Diaspora (Routledge, 2022) is a dialogical cultural study of sexual trafficking in the book of Esther and during the Transatlantic Slave Trade. She served as co-editor of Bitter the Chastening Rod: Africana Biblical Interpretation after Stony the Road We Trod in the Age of BLM, SayHerName, and MeToo (2022), and is an ordained elder in the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.



Keynote #5: Rudy Guevarra (Wednesday, April 17th, 6:30 – 8:00pm)

Rudy Guevarra
Rudy Güevarra

Dr. Rudy P. Guevarra, Jr. is Professor of Asian Pacific American Studies in the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University. He is the author of Becoming Mexipino: Multiethnic Identities and Communities in San Diego, and most recently, Aloha Compadre: Latinxs in Hawaiʻi. He is a former Ford Foundation Senior Fellow and UC Berkeley Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow. Dr. Guevarra is also co-editor with Dr. Hinojosa in the forthcoming book, Culinary Mestizaje: Racial Mixing, Migration and Foodways in the U.S.       



Keynote #6: Chef Adán Medrano (Thursday, April 18th 9:00am – 10:30am)

Adán Medrano
Chef Adán Medrano

Adán Medrano is a food writer, chef, and filmmaker specializing in the indigenous foods of Texas and the Americas. His book, Truly Texas Mexican: A Native Culinary Heritage in Recipes, published by Texas Tech University Press (TTU Press), received the “Finalist Book of the Year” award from Foreword Reviews. He is also the executive producer and writer of the documentary “Truly Texas Mexican,” which won “Best Documentary” at the New York Independent Cinema Awards and “Audience Choice Award” at the Hill Country Film Festival. It won “Official Selection” at the Sonoma International Film Festival and it is streaming internationally in English and Spanish. He is the editor of the TTU Press book series, “Indigenous Foodways of Texas and Northern Mexico.”


Keynote #7: Felipe Hinojosa (Thursday, April 18th, 10:45am-12:15pm)

Felipe Hinojosa
Felipe Hinojosa

Felipe Hinojosa is the Jackson Family Chair for Baylor in Latin America and Professor of History at Baylor University. His research focuses on Latinx civil rights movements and religious politics in twentieth century America. He is the author of two award winning books: Latino Mennonites: Civil Rights, Faith, and Evangelical Culture (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014), which won the 2015 Américo Paredes Book Award for the best book in Mexican American and Latina/o Studies and Apostles of Change: Latino Radical Politics, Church Occupations, and the Fight to Save the Barrio (University of Texas Press, 2021), which was awarded the 2022 Outstanding Book Award by the Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education. In 2022 he published a co-edited volume with Maggie Elmore and Sergio González titled Faith and Power: Latino Religious Politics Since 1945 (New York University Press). He is currently finalizing work on a co-edited volume with Rudy P. Guevarra, Jr., titled Culinary Mestizaje: Racial Mixing, Migration, and Foodways in the U.S. set to be published in 2025 by the University of Texas Press. Dr. Hinojosa new book project will focus on Latinx civil rights movements and their role in shaping American democracy in the post-World War II era.

Documentary Group: “Missing in Brooks County”
“Missing in Brooks County” was nominated for Best Political Documentary by the Critics’ Choice Awards. (For more information see missinginbrookscounty.com)

Missing in Brooks County1

Workshop Leaders:

“Theater, Migration, and Food Insecurity” 
“Migration and Food Needs—Play Reading”

Guilherme Feitosa de Almeida
Guilherme Feitosa de Almeida

Guilherme Feitosa de Almeida serves as Senior Lecturer in Musical Theatre at Baylor University in Waco, TX, USA. An ordained Baptist minister, he serves globally as music director, performer, liturgist, and consultant. Research interest includes Interdisciplinarity in the Arts and Humanities, especially the connections between justice, spirituality, and performance. He is a doctoral candidate at Texas Tech (Lubbock, TX) pursuing a PhD in Fine Arts, Interdisciplinary Arts (Musicology and Theatre) with graduate certificates in Music Cognition and Cross-Cultural Studies. His dissertation deploys semiographic and semiologic methodologies as framed by Roland Barthes to investigate the many resistances to the mythologies of coloniality present in Music and Theatre. Recent publications include The Anti-War Voice of Buffy Sainte-Marie (New Sound Intl Journal of Music 58, II/2021). Recent workshops include Introduction to Theatre of the Oppressed (Beteli Center, Tbilisi – Georgia) and Documentary Theatre - Interview to Radio Drama (Southeastern Theatre Conference). Recent productions include Goethe'sFaust (Composer and Music Director, UT Dallas, with director Raphael Parry featuring a new English translation by Zsuzsanna Ozváth and Fred Turner), Oscillating Realities (Creation & Scenario in Music, Zürcher Hochschule der Künste, Switzerland), and durezieh und… (Co-created with Eva Marlin, featured in Créatrices’ Fraumünsterhof 21 and FATart Fair 2022, Switzerland). 


“How Migration Shapes Christian Communities” -João Chaves

Joao Chaves
Joao Chaves

João Chaves is an award-winning author whose books include Migrational Religion: Context and

Creativity in the Latinx Diaspora (Baylor University Press, 2021), The Global Mission of the Jim Crow South: Southern Baptist Missionaries and the Shaping of Latin American Evangelicalism (Mercer University Press, 2022), and Remembering Antônia Teixeira: A Story of Missions, Violence, and Institutional Hypocrisy (Eerdmans, 2023), co-authored with Dr. Mikeal Parsons.

He has served on several academic editorial boards and participated in a research team working with award-winning filmmakers on a forthcoming documentary exploring the connections between Politics and Christianity in Brazil. Recently, he received the competitive Louisville Institute Sabbatical Grant for Researchers for 2024-2025.


“Migration, Food, and Ecology” - Jenny Howell

Jenny Howell
Jenny Howell

Jenny Howell teaches Christian theology and is the Director of the Program for Theology, Ecology and Food Justice at Baylor University’s Truett Theological Seminary. She also serves as the Theologian in Residence at the World Hunger Relief Farm, located just outside of Waco, TX. She holds degrees from the Honor’s Program at Texas A&M University (B.A. in English Literature), Duke Divinity School (M.Div.) and a Ph.D. in Theology and Ethics from Baylor University. 





“Migration and Music: A Latin American Perspective”- Marcelo Boccato Kuyumjian

Marcelo Boccato Kuyumjian
Marcelo Boccato Kuyumjian

Marcelo Boccato Kuyumjian is a pianist, scholar, and educator focusing on the music of the African diaspora. He currently holds an appointment as Lecturer of Jazz Studies at Baylor University. Originally from Campinas, Brazil, he has earned a DMA in Jazz Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he was also a 2018-19 Graduate Fellow at the Humanities Research Institute for his dissertation “Performing Samba: Aesthetics, Transnational Modernisms, and Race.”





“Cultural, Linguistic, and Religious Diversity in Food and Nutrition Research in Guatemala”- Tong Lee

Tong Lee
Tong Lee

Tong Lee, MPH is the Program Director for Global Initiatives at the Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty. With a background in nursing, social work, and public health Tong leads the Baylor Collaborative’s global portfolios, fostering relationships with global partners and specializing in research on malnutrition and poverty in global health. She is currently managing an impact evaluation of World Food Program’s multi-year nutrition and resilience program in Guatemala.

Tong previously worked on Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) and maternal and child health programming in Tanzania and Uganda. She also led research that informed federal, state, and local public health campaigns, like promoting the SNAP program for mixed-status families. Tong received her Master of Public Health (MPH) from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.


"Community Ministry and Immigration"- Rev. Dr. Israel Loachamin

Rev. Dr. Israel Loachamin
Rev. Dr. Israel Loachamin

Rev. Dr. Israel Loachamin is a two-time alumna of Baylor University with his Master of Divinity in 2019 and Doctor of Ministry in 2022. Israel is married to Emily and has three children, Lucas, Gabriel, and Evelyn. He serves as an associate pastor for Spanish Ministry at First Baptist Church Waco and is the founder and executive director of La Puerta. Israel was a Waco Under 40 Honoree in 2021. Israel serves as a Governing Board member of CBF (Cooperative Baptist Fellowship) and has served as board member of Equal Employment Opportunity Advisory Committee for the City of Waco Texas, Equitable Vaccine Allocation Subcommittee for the McLennan County Public Health District, and Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Texas.




“Migration and Economy”- Lourenço S. Paz

Lourenco Paz
Lourenco Paz

Lourenço S. Paz is an Associate Professor of Economics at Baylor University. Dr. Paz research interests lie in the intersection of international trade, labor, and development economics. His recent works investigate the impacts of globalization and labor market regulations on workers welfare, with a focus on informality and disadvantaged workers. He has published in top-ranked academic journals and has over 25 publications. Part of his research has been funded by the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank, and the United Nations. 





“Food Needs at Baylor University”- Maddie Whitmore

Maddie Whitmore
Maddie Whitmore

Maddie Whitmore serves as the Graduate Assistant for The Store, Baylor's on-campus food pantry for students. Currently a doctoral candidate in the Higher Education Studies & Leadership program, Maddie is passionate about issues of access, equity, and basic needs support in higher education. Her dissertation work centers on college and university food pantries as spaces of activism and care. Maddie grew up outside of Denver, Colorado before moving to Waco for graduate school in 2018. She holds a B.A. in Communications from Colorado Christian University and a M.S.Ed. in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Baylor University.