“Houston is on the leading edge of the country’s epic transition, from being a melting pot of European nationalities into becoming a ‘universal nation.’ Houston’s burgeoning diversity can be our greatest asset, or it can tear us apart. It depends on us.” —Stephen Klineberg

The future of our city and nation is inextricably bound to the way we approach immigration. Nearly one in four Houstonians is an immigrant or refugee, and our region has a foreign-born population of 1.6 million people. As one of the most ethnically diverse metropolitan areas in the country, with no majority ethnic group, Houston foreshadows the demographic shifts that are transforming our nation. This course convenes Rice scholars and other experts in public policy, law, sociology, business, social services and the arts to examine the obstacles and opportunities to implement effective, compassionate immigration policies, ones that, in the words of Tony Payan, “honor our history, our identity, and especially our conscience.” 

Course Schedule

Sept. 25. “The Long View on Immigration in the United States and Texas.” Tony Payan, Ph.D., director, Rice University Baker Institute Mexico Center

Oct. 2. “Becoming One of the Most Diverse Cities in the Country: The History of Houston’s Immigration and Its Implications for the Future.” Stephen Klineberg, Ph.D., founding director, Rice University Kinder Institute for Urban Research and Professor Emeritus of Sociology

Oct. 16. “Five Myths About Immigration.” Charles Foster, J.D., chairman, Foster LLP, global immigration law firm

Oct. 23. “A Culture of Care: Welcoming and Supporting Refugees and Immigrants.” Wafa Abdin, J.D., former executive director, Houston Volunteer Lawyers, and Ali Al Sudani, B.S., senior vice president for programs and chief of staff, Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston

Oct. 30. “Houston’s Economic Future: The Impact of Immigration.” Brett Perlman, J.D., president and CEO, Center for Houston’s Future

Nov. 6. “Song of Houston: The Art of Immigration.” Carleen Graham, Ph.D., director, HGOco, Houston Grand Opera

Nov. 13. “The Path Forward: Comprehensive Immigration Policies and Collective Actions.” Chelsie Kramer, B.A., state organizer, New American Economy, and Kate Vickery, MPA, MSCRP, executive director, Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative

A short reception immediately follows the last class on
Nov. 13, 8:30–9 p.m.


  • Center for Houston’s Future
  • Houston Grand Opera
  • Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative
  • Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston
  • New American Economy
  • Rice University Baker Institute Mexico Center
  • Rice University Chao Center for Asian Studies
  • Rice University Kinder Institute for Urban Research



Enroll Now - Available Sections

Section Title
Universal City: Immigration and the Future of Houston and the U.S.
7:00PM to 8:30PM
Sep 25, 2019 to Nov 13, 2019
Schedule and Location
Contact Hours
  • Rice Campus
Delivery Options
Course Fee(s)
* non-credit $250.00
Section Notes

No class Oct. 9

Refund Policy A 10 percent processing fee will be subtracted from all refunds. Due to the high demand for courses, registrations are considered final as of 10 days prior to the class start date. No refunds will be issued after these dates and credits will not be given for future classes. No refunds will be granted for participants who miss a portion of a program. Refund requests before the deadline must be made in writing to gscs@rice.edu.