I am an advocate for immigrants and refugees, and I am interested in reframing how businesses view and develop policies with and for vulnerable and international migrant populations.
With a background in higher education, international trade, and high tech, my perspective has been informed by research, authoring two books, and volunteering for the International Rescue Committee (IRC).
Advocate: At the International Rescue Committee (IRC), I volunteered with the Anti-Trafficking team and also worked with the Immigration Program assisting with the Central American Minors (CAM) program and Deferred Action Childhood Arrival (DACA) clients. While living in Cape Town, South Africa, I volunteered at the University of Cape Town Refugee Rights Clinic. Since 2015, I have served as an Advisory Board Member at the Adonis Musati Project, a refugee advocacy civil society organization based in Cape Town, South Africa. I was also a Legislative Ambassador for the American Cancer Society (ACS), and advocated for cancer research and for affordable healthcare.
Author: My first book, So Far from Allah, So Close to Mexico, drew on my experiences in the private sector in articulating a social history as it relates to business investment, politics, and the acquisition of power across cultures. I analyzed over 8,000 immigrant registration cards, and conducted interviews and archival research in Mexico, the United States, and Lebanon. I also researched Muslim communities in the Americas, and wrote about the Arab and Jewish populations in Latin America. With funding from El Cólegio de México’s PIERAN, I co-published Migration and Citizenship: Constructing Nations in North America comparing U.S. and Mexican immigration policies and citizenship.
Researcher: My research has led to two academic books and 20 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters covering law, history, public health, and refugee studies. I have also given interviews to Al Jazeera, BBC, Le Monde, France24, and NPR about my research.
Educator: From 2003 through 2017, I was a professor (tenured in 2007 and promoted to full professor in 2012) at Sonoma State University teaching on Refugees in the World, History of the Americas, Gender and Sexuality in Latin America, and U.S.-Mexican relations.
I have a Ph.D. in History and an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Georgetown University. I earned an M Phil in Human Rights Law from the Faculty of Law at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and a M.Sc. in Comparative Politics at the London School of Economics and Political Science. I have lived in Cape Town (South Africa), Mexico City, Santiago (Chile), Bradford (U.K.), and taught world history at Lincoln University College in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Policy Analyst: My research and writing have been shaped by my early career in Government Affairs at National Semiconductor, Texas Instruments and Motorola. I helped develop policies regarding corporate responsibility, international trade, human rights in Latin America, and immigrant and refugee rights in the United States, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. Based on fieldwork in Africa, I have written and presented about research ethics, offering policy suggestions and guidance for compliance with international standards for the responsible conduct of research.
If you’re interested in connecting to discuss how companies can better reach vulnerable and
migrant populations domestically and internationally, please contact me.
“So Far from Allah, So Close to Mexico, by Theresa Alfaro Velcamp,
masterfully reveals Mexican multiculturalism.”
–Debora Cordeiro Rosa
The Latin Americanist
“You can’t really change the heart without telling a story.”