Alejandro’s interactions during those two years in the field became a landmark in his life. As someone once said, "I am who I am because I have walked among you". For him, that has certainly been his experience: migrants, refugees, and humanitarian workers have shaped who he is. Most importantly, he acquired a more profound insight that migrants are not merely numbers or statistics that constitute migratory systems. Migrants are people with dreams, hopes, challenges, desires, and an uncanny ability to face and overcome adversity.
After his time at the University of Oxford and Campion Hall, Alejandro went on to teach at the Boston College School of Social Work (BCSSW), where he has taught courses on migration, refugees, and humanitarian issues. His research has since moved to explore the integration practices of migrants and refugees in Latin America and to investigate the educational needs of children stranded in migration and the border between Mexico and the United States.
Alejandro’s interest in migration has also led him to develop courses aimed at educating students regarding the intersection of migration politics and social work and fostering the need to use interdisciplinary approaches to understand migration better. His research inquiring about the role of humanitarian organisations in migration contexts led him to recognise and discover gaps in their staff's training. Thus, along with some colleagues at BCSSW, he developed an Interdisciplinary Certificate in Humanitarian Assistance (ICHA) to provide foundational knowledge on different perspectives on migration. The certificate covered topics related to refugee determination, international child protection, mental health and psychosocial practices, education in emergencies, climate change and human rights, and public health.
This past summer, along with Dr. Maryanne Loughry, Associate Director of the Jesuit Refugee Service in Australia, Alejandro led the inaugural Pedro Arrupe Summer School in Forced Migration, collaborating with Campion Hall, the Jesuit Refugee Service, and Boston College. This collaboration aimed to form Jesuit scholastics working in the field or whose future mission will be related to migrants and refugees. Ultimately, all these activities and projects aim to build the capacity to work with migrants and refugees. The more we prepare those working in migration and forced migration, the better migrants and refugees will benefit.