Villanova University Interdisciplinary Training for Migrant and Refugee Pastoral Workers and Advocates

Pope Francis recently called on Catholic universities worldwide to contribute to research and teaching about refugees and migrants. As a Catholic and Augustinian institution with a deep and long-standing commitment to community service and founded to educate immigrants, Villanova is answering Pope Francis’ call.

Villanova is in the process of designing and developing a new online interdisciplinary competencies-based educational program to educate and train students to serve migrants and refugees in a pastoral or advocacy role. Specifically, the new training program will educate students about migration from an interdisciplinary perspective, with the aim for graduates to be able to provide assistance and support (including legal assistance) to migrants and refugees. The program will fill an educational gap in the field of migration and establish a new credential for students who seek to use their education to serve migrants and refugees.

The online program will be organized into a series of free-standing content modules. The modules will be developed in consultation with various community stakeholders including non-governmental organizations, university professors, potential employers, migrants, refugees and potential students. Students who complete the entire module series will receive a certificate.

Work is underway to build the first module cluster which will focus on:

  • The Stranger in History and Religious Tradition
  • Understanding Another: Cultural Difference and Trauma
  • Interviewing & Counseling to Identify the Needs of Migrants and Refugees
  • Ethics and Moral Obligations to Refugees and Migrants
  • Self and Communal Care for Caregivers/Advocates



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Michele R. Pistone, Professor of Law & Director, Clinic for Asylum, Refugee and Emigrant Services (CARES)
Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law

Associate Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning

Tolentine Hall, Room 103

Office Hours:
1/25: 12-2 pm
2/16: 11-1:30 pm
3/20: 10-12 pm
4/25: 2-4 pm

“One mark of a great educator is the ability to lead students out to new places where even the educator has never been.”  -Thomas Groome

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Tolentine Hall, Room 103
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085
Phone: 610.519.4525
Fax: 610.519.6200

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