Denida Doda interviews Prof. Marco Iacoboni, Brain Mapping Center, UCLA on Mirror Neurons

Imitation is such an important aspect of mirroring behavior: it’s fundamental for empathy, self-awareness, for learning, and hence for the transmission of culture.

Migration Through Songs

By Giorgia Colomba

Sting's Englishman in New York represents a real praise to the courage to be oneself despite everything, the diversity of the individual, and the courage to live the life of a ”foreigner in a foreign land.”

Afghan Music and its Significance for Migrant Musicians

impactmania/ AD&A Museum student Alice Taylor interviews Dr. John Baily for her project: Music and Migration. The Movement of Sound. 


Alessandro Minigher on moving away from his Italian home town at the foot of the Julian Alps:

"I would have rather stayed in Valbruna if there would have been suitable work conditions. Living there is sometimes challenging, but I love the mountains so much."

Read Alessandro's essay on his home town: Mountain [is] Life: Valbruna

Galician Bagpiper Cristina Pato on Embracing Her Migration Path

Natalie Gomez speaks with internationally acclaimed muscian and educator Cristina Pato as part of her series Modern-Day Migrants in the Performing Arts. She shares about the ways in which her immigration roots have shaped her and of her devotion to propelling cultural exhange.

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Hostile Terrain 94: Art as a Means for Political Change

By Natalie Gomez

On their first Friday back at UC Santa Barbara after returning from Winter Break, a group of student-interns walked into a new exhibit they were assigned to facilitate at the Art, Design & Architecture Museum. Skylar Lines, a 20-year old from Napa, California, gawked at the large wall immediately apparent from the entrance — remarkable not for its artistic extravagance but it’s blankness...

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UCSB Professor Irwin Appel and the Human Experience of Theater

Natalie Gomez speaks with UCSB Theater and Dance Department Chair Irwin Appel as part of her series Modern-Day Migrants in the Performing Arts. He shares his experience as a traveling actor, designing cirriculum for a global pool of students, and the universal nature of Shakespeare.

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Modern Day Nomad

During impactmania's Women of Impact trip to New Zealand, co-founder and CEO of Alzheimer's X, Dr. Miyoung Chun, spoke about migration. Dr. Chun, originally from Korea, moved to the United States of America when she was in her twenties. She went from being a busgirl in a restaurant to leading the U.S. BRAIN Initiative—a collaborative, public-private research initiative announced by President Barack Obama at the State of the Union in 2013.

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Ernan Roman on Being American

For years of my life I traveled and lived in Europe and in Mexico on a motorcycle. I didn’t have enough fuel for my bike and food for myself. The farmers who took me in in Greece, Italy, Scotland, Ireland, Israel, and Mexico let me sleep in their barn or took me into their home, fed me whatever things they might have. There is a cosmic debt that I owe.  


Philanthropist Eva Haller, Multiple Immigrant, on Risk Taking

Ernan Roman, who was featured in the previous interview, is the son of immigrant, Eva Haller. Eva went from cleaning houses to supporting countless arts and cultural organizations around her. She has been recognized as a mentor to a wide community of arts and business leaders on both the East-and West Coasts of the country she so loves. Forbes Women’s Summit honored Eva Haller for her work with the Inaugural Mentoring Award in 2013.

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Artist Barbara Caveng: A First Class Migrant

Swiss-born artist Barbara Caveng started her initiative Kunstasyl in February 2015. With the inhabitants of the residential home for asylum seekers and displaced persons at Staakener Straße in Berlin, she tried to find ways to navigate the complicated situation of building a home and community for those far from home.

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Courtney Applewhite: How Business impacted our Death Practices

Courtney Applewhite, former death investigator, researches death practices and beliefs in the U.S.
Courtney Applewhite is part of the impactmania and UCSB’s Human Mind and Migration team looking into the impact of millions of people migrating in our world.

Death, a universal topic, often left undiscussed, concerns people in every culture. Paksy Plackis-Cheng spoke with Courtney Applewhite about how different beliefs, and the commercialization of death, have informed our death practices. And why Americans still believe in Heaven, but did away with Hell.

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Bonnie Chiu: The Impact of a Camera

Bonnie Chiu is the Managing Director of The Social Investment Consultancy in London, UK. Chiu started her career founding Lensational in her native Hong Kong. The organization puts cameras in the hands of illiterate women to help them express themselves. Subsequently, Forbes named Chiu as one of the ‘30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneurs in Europe’ in 2017. impactmania spoke with Chiu about social entrepreneurship, domestic migrants in Hong Kong, and the impact of a photo camera.

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Rhacel Salazar Parreñas: The Un-Freedom of Poverty or the Un-Freedom of Servitude


Rhacel Salazar Parreñas, professor of Sociology and Gender Studies at USC, researches women’s labor and migration in economic globalization. Her work has been featured in NPR’s The World, Bloomberg News, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, De Volkskrant, and The American Prospect. Parreñas’s dissertation was made into a documentary, The Chain of Love (2000), by the public broadcasting station VPRO-TV in the Netherlands.

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Hannah Jongsma: Is Mental Health of Minorities Related to How They Are Viewed by Others?

The Human Mind and Migration program highlights the research that expands and reveals the impact that migration has on various communities. The neurobiological effects from reshaping of a social environment will be explored throughout the study. We interviewed Hannah Jongsma, a postdoctoral fellow at UCL’s Division of Psychiatry.

Hannah Jongsma studies the relationship of ethnic communities and their mental health and illness in new environments. We asked her to share some of the findings of the extensive European Gene-Environment Interactions (EU-GEI study). 

The Gene-Environment Interactions Study is looking at psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia, but also bipolar disorder, and depression with psychotic symptoms in minority communities in France, England, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, and Brazil.

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TV Producer, Marisa Venegas: Tirelessly Covering Societal Issues

During a 26-year career at NBCCBSUnivision, and Telemundo networks, Marisa Venegas has launched and developed prime-time news magazine shows. The journalist and writer shares her road in becoming a television producer and offers us a glimpse of the human stories behind some of the most pressing societal issues of today: immigration and child labor.

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Elpie Leba: Upcycling Plastic; Upcycling Life

Many women from the Philippines leave friends, family, and often their own children to become household staff abroad. The Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) estimated that more than 10 million Filipino or 11% of the population left the country to work and live abroad

Elpie Leba (Elpidia Malicsi) graduated from college in the Philippines and moved to Saudi Arabia to become a migrant domestic worker for an American family. Now, more than 30 years later, Ms. Leba has been a migrant domestic worker on three continents. Recently, her artistic talents have been recognized. She has become a fashion designer whose gowns made with upcycled materials such as discarded garbage bags, coffee sachets, and soda can tabs were exhibited at the Philippines Consulate in Hong Kong.

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Eric Fong: People with the Same Race and Ethnicity Also Face Integration Issues

Today, there are approximately 258 million people living in a country other than their country of birth. The World Migration Report projects the world to experience 405 million international migrants by 2050.

impactmania and University of California, Santa Barbara’s (UCSB) Human Mind and Migration program asks how migration impacts our minds and cultures. We are exploring people movements—for example, Mexicans in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles; Chinese migrants in South Africa, and Filipino domestic workers in Hong Kong. Hong Kong’s main migration matters are Chinese from Mainland China and foreign domestic workers.

Migrant workers in Hong Kong make up 5% of a population of 7.4 million. Last year (2017), the 370,000 migrant domestic workers represented 10% of the total work force of which 48 percent were from the Philippines, 49.4 percent from Indonesia, and 1.3 percent from Thailand. About 98.5% of them are women who often must leave their own families and children behind to take care of their employers’ families. These family and household caretakers are required by law to live in their employer’s residences.

The Research Centre on Migration and Mobility in Hong Kong has interviewed 2,000 Filipino and Indonesian workers in Hong Kong to gain better knowledge about the dynamics and the complexities of the migrant situation. impactmania met with Professor Eric Fong, Director of the Research Centre on Migration and Mobility in Hong Kong.

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Robin Hauser: Bias

Robin Hauser, director and producer of the documentary film, CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap, on how diversity equals innovation, made a new film, Bias.

impactmania spoke with director Robin Hauser about her biases, funding model for her films, and how the posse effect would retain more women and minorities on a board.

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