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TU Citizen: Laila Hlass

Laila Hlass

“My dad was an international student. He was from Palestine and came to the United States in the 40s. And then he became stateless… his plans were disrupted. He was planning to go back and become a teacher. But he found his way here and was able to build a life here. And that's why I'm here. 

I think it benefits everyone at Tulane when we have representation from so many different countries and so many different points of view. There's a richness to having representation from around the world. It benefits all of us, expanding the way we think about things and questioning assumptions that we have, and allowing us to have bigger ideas about how to tackle problems. 

You don’t have to go far to see how often immigrants are dehumanized. They talk about ‘swarms of immigrants, floods of immigrants,’ right? Just look in public discourse. There's a lot of negativity towards new immigrant communities. I'm an immigration law professor. I've chosen this field coming from an immigrant family and thinking about migration as a right: that people should be able to live in different parts of the world, that it benefits them, that it benefits the communities around them. 

In my role as the Associate Provost for International Affairs, my hope is to build on the international strengths that we have, to make sure we have an inclusive international community, that our students and scholars feel supported and are getting what they need. And that all of our students, staff, and faculty who are interested in learning abroad, engaging in international education, engaging in research around the world - that they're supported in doing that work. So my goal is to take stock of what we're doing and what strengths already exist, and see how we can better support folks in that international work.”

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