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Nashville Refugee

Event Details

September 21, 2024

8:00 AM - 2:00 PM

Woodmont Hills Church

3710 Franklin Pike, Nashville, TN 37204

Light breakfast, coffee, snacks, lunch, and access to all exhibits are included in the $25 cost of the conference.

Link to register


The 2024 Schedule is Coming Soon!


a profile picture of Abdul Makembe, a speaker at the conference.

Abdul Makembe

Abdul immigrated from Tanzania in 1976. He has an MBA from the Owen Graduate School of Business and a Dr.PH from UNC School of Public Health. He is a long time member of the Woodmont Hills Church and an Administrator of the Jenga Health Project at New Life-Nashville Outreach to the World (N.O.W.). He serves as a Needs Assessment Representative in Swahili Speaking Countries for Project C.U.R.E. to help the hospitals apply for and acquire donated medical equipment and supplies. Abdul also serves on the Project C.U.R.E. Ambassadors Board, Nashville Center. Abdul works for the Woodmont Hills Church as an Interpreter and Mentor for newly arrived Swahili Speaking families (Refugees) in collaboration with NICE and Catholic Charities.

a profile picture of Anna Notestine, a speaker at the conference.

Anna Notestine

Anna Notestine is the Associate Director of the New Americans Program at Catholic Charities, Diocese of Nashville. Anna has her Master’s Degree in Social Work (MSW) from the University of Tennessee and also obtained a Graduate Certificate in Trauma Treatment. Anna has 8 years of experience working with refugee and immigrant populations and specializes in the creation, implementation, and oversight of trauma-informed, resilience-focused programs. In her free time, Anna enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter.

a profile picture of Anuradha Kirtane, a speaker at the conference.

Anuradha Kirtane

I have been in this country for 48 years now, having spent more years here than in India: my native country where I came from. United States gave me many opportunities which back then, I would not have gotten in India. I continued with my passion for art, went back to school and obtained additional training. I was able to pursue my love for sports and I remain active in playing racket sports. I picked up new marketable skills and worked outside home. My husband and I have two adult children and five grandchildren. I have been active in volunteering for various activities over the last twenty-five years. I was elected President of India Association of Nashville which gave me an opportunity to understand the needs of the community as well as issues facing the immigrant community at large. I have been Chair of the Community Sewa Committee of Sri Ganesha Temple, Hindu Cultural Center of Tennessee for the last fifteen years. Under my chairmanship, the Committee has tackled several community related issues. Committee runs several programs for seniors as well as organizes programs to celebrate occasions such as Mothers’ Day and Fathers’ Day. During my fifteen years, I had an opportunity to work with Bhutani refugees. Our team including myself assisted them develop language skills, computer skills and other marketable capabilities that helped provide economic stability.

a profile picture of Bethany Jackson, a speaker at the conference.

Bethany Jackson

Bethany Jackson is a graduate of Rhodes College and Tulane University School of Law. Before moving to Nashville, Bethany was a partner in a Baltimore-based litigation firm, focused on the defense of pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers in mass tort litigation. Bethany joined TNJFON in 2014 as a Staff Attorney and became Legal Director in January 2019. Her practice at TNJFON focuses on representing clients who qualify for humanitarian forms of relief. Bethany’s volunteer experience includes work with the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, the Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence, Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, Court Appointed Special Advocates, Nashville Bar Association Pro Bono Program, the Nashville Public Library, the Nashville Urban Debate League, and Needlink.

a profile picture of Davis Chappell, a speaker at the conference.

Davis Chappell

Dr. Davis Chappell is a native of Nashville. He graduated from Overton High School in 1978. Davis holds undergraduate degrees in Psychology at Martin Methodist College and Lambuth College in Tennessee. He is a graduate of Candler School of Theology at Emory University, where he earned a Master of Divinity degree. Davis completed his Doctor of Divinity degree, in the areas of evangelism and church renewal, at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University. He is the past Chair of the Board of World Methodist Evangelism, and the current Chair of the World Methodist Evangelism Institute. He is also a current Board Member of Candler School of Theology at Emory University. Davis is Chair of the Superintendency Committee for the Harpeth River District in the Tennessee/Western Kentucky Conference of the United Methodist Church and he is a recipient of the Harry Denman Award for Evangelism. Davis has been married for 38 years to the former Sherre Hufman, of Tifton, Georgia. They have two adult children, one a therapist and one a pastor. They have one grandson, 18 month old. For 30 years, Davis served churches in the Atlanta area. He joined Brentwood United Methodist Church as Senior Pastor in July, 2013, where he is in his 10th year of ministry.

a profile picture of Donna Pack, a speaker at the conference.

Donna Pack

Donna Pack is the director of Connecting Kindness, a non-profit serving Nashville’s refugee and immigrant community. Their mission is to connect new arrivals to the United States with existing resources to make their transition easier. The goal is to always serve with dignity. Donna has worked in many community volunteer capacities for the last 20 years, including the Nashville International Center for Empowerment. She has assisted in resettlement and helped hundreds of refugees obtain U.S. Citizenship. She is currently a board member of the Community Resource Center. Donna received her advertising degree from MTSU and sold computers to the federal government before going into volunteer work. She resides in Mount Juliet when she is not at the various refugee apartments along Nolensville Road.

a profile picture of Dr Held, a speaker at the conference.

Dr. Held

Associate Professor Dr. Held is the Assistant Dean and MSSW Program Director of the Nashville campus at the University of Tennessee. Dr. Held practiced social work with immigrant communities for almost 10 years before beginning her career in academics. She has engaged in practice and research with immigrants and refugees, specializing in understanding trauma, resilience, and ways social workers can best support settlement and integration. Dr. Held designs quantitative and qualitative studies to learn from immigrants, refugees, and service providers and frequently provides trainings to providers.

a profile picture of James Cole, a speaker at the conference.

James Cole

James was born in West Virginia and grew up in Dayton, Ohio. He attended West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon, WV where he studied music and English. After college, he worked in England and travelled in Europe. James came to Nashville in the summer of 1986 and has been in Middle Tennessee ever since. He received his Masters in Divinity from Vanderbilt Divinity School in 1991, was ordained in the Tennessee Conference of the United Methodist Church and began serving Churches in the Tennessee Conference that same year. Currently he serves the Antioch United Methodist Church in Southeast Nashville. James has served on the Board of Tennessee Justice for our Neighbors and as a member of the Interfaith Alliance of Middle Tennessee. He has long been interested in interfaith dialogue and engagement. Aside from John Wesley’s three simple rules: do no harm, do good, stay in love with God—James has a personal mission statement as well: practice the presence of God and help others practice the presence of God.

a profile picture of Judy Solan, a speaker at the conference.

Judy Solan

Refugee Mentor

Judy first became involved with the Refugee Family Mentor Program in January 2020 when Andrew Phay reached out to Congregation Micah, a local reform synagogue. She and her daughter joined the mentor team for a family from the Democratic Republic of Congo. From 2020-2022, Judy was an assistant teacher for Zoom ESL and Citizenship classes. She is currently a volunteer mentor with Catholic Charities and has been working with an Afghan refugee family since April 2022. Judy has also been helping another Afghan refugee with her husband's Visa process to join his family in Nashville. In Williamson County, she advocates for social justice and racial equity with One Willco.

a profile picture of Julie Greenberg, a speaker at the conference.

Julie Greenberg


Before moving to Nashville in 2000, Julie was a middle and high school English, History, and Journalism teacher in Texas. Her professional teaching background and curriculum writing experience led to her hire at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College as the Program Coordinator and Trainer of the Classroom Organization Management Program (COMP). Already an active member and Religious School teacher at Micah, Julie joined the professional staff as Education Director in 2003.

a profile picture of Max Rykov, a speaker at the conference.

Max Rykov


Max was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and his family moved to the United States as refugees in 1993. Max received a Bachelor of Arts in Human Development and Religious Studies from the University of Alabama and began his professional career by organizing fundraising events for non-profit organizations in Alabama. Max's community involvement led him to City Hall in Birmingham, where he worked as the Community Engagement Officer for the Birmingham City Council - helping develop campaigns and events to increase interest in the participatory processes of local government. During his time at City Hall, Max continued producing community events to benefit local organizations, served on local non-profit boards, and managed a micro-grant foundation. Max moved to Nashville in 2020, and his non-profit fundraising work led him to serve in the role of Director of Development & Communications at NICE.

a profile picture of Sabina Mohyuddin, a speaker at the conference.

Sabina Mohyuddin


Sabina Mohyuddin is a Bangladeshi American Muslim born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee. She graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1993 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. She is an active member of the Muslim community participating in interfaith and youth programs. In 2010, Sabina helped launch the Sons and Daughters of Abraham Project which brings Muslim, Christian, and Jewish youth across Middle Tennessee together through interfaith dialogue and outreach programs. Sabina has published a number of articles in The Tennessean and was an outspoken critic of the 2011 anti-sharia bill in the Tennessee state legislature. She is a founding board member of the American Muslim Advisory Council (AMAC) and now serves as the Executive Director of AMAC, which empowers the Tennessee Muslim community through civic engagement, community building and media relations. She serves as the chair of AMAC’s yearly Empowering Women conference. Additionally, Sabina serves on the board of the National Organization of Workforce Diversity which helps promote diversity in the workplace and on the board of the League of Women Voters Nashville. In 2020, Sabina was inducted into the YWCA’s Academy for Women of Achievement and in 2022 she received the Trailblazer Award from Nashville’s Metro Council Minority Caucus. She is an alumnus of the American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute, Muslim Power Building Project, and Leadership Nashville. She currently lives in Nashville with her family.

a profile picture of Shannon Queen, a speaker at the conference.

Shannon Queen


Shannon was raised in Florida but moved to Nashville in 1996. A seasoned American History teacher with Wilson County Schools, Shannon taught in the eighth grade for 10 years. From 2021-2023, she worked as a volunteer teacher with Nashville World Outreach. She's taught Drivers Education, ESL, and Citizenship Classes. Shannon currently serves as a volunteer teacher with Working Mission. She is TEFL certified and has participated in the USCIS teacher training seminar.

Masood Sidiqyar

Masood Sidiqyar is part of Nashville’s Afghan community. He immigrated as a refugee with his family and he has lived in the Middle Tennessee area since 1988. He works with the outreach program at the Islamic Center of Nashville to help foster relationship and advocacy. Masood and numerous other Afghans are working with resettlement agencies and other coalition member to support the transition of our Afghan allies to Middle Tennessee. Masood is Senior Director of Information Security at Vanderbilt University.