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Highland’s 28th annual Boyer Colloquium presents ‘Climate Change, Disasters, and Human Migration’

Highland Community College’s 2023 Boyer Colloquium — “Climate Change, Disasters, and Human Migration” — is set for 7 p.m. Monday, April 17 in room H-201 in the Student/Conference Center, 2998 W. Pearl City Rd., Freeport, Ill. The program is also available via Zoom™.

Highland will host Dr. Pablo Toral, professor of environmental studies and international relations and department chair of political science at Beloit College. He teaches courses in international political economy, environmental politics, development, international governance, Latin America and Europe international relations, and peace studies. Pablo received his Ph.D. in international relations from Florida International University in 2003. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and a Master of Arts in international studies.

“As a researcher, I like to share my findings on my topics of interest, especially on people’s interactions with the natural world,” Toral said. “As a teacher, I look for every opportunity to team up with my students to learn about the greatest challenges that societies face today so that we can find some answers and point out avenues for future learning.”

He adds: “As a social person who loves the outdoors, I am fascinated by the many ways in which different societies relate to the natural world and how they try to address the challenges of our time, hoping to learn from them, exchange ideas, make new friendships, and build community.”

The Boyer Colloquium, an annual event sponsored by the late Dr. M.E. Boyer, was created in 1994 to help students and communities understand the importance of the inter-relationships between ethics, economics and ecology. The Boyer Colloquium Committee believes that if communities comprehend issues, the history of previous decisions and the ramifications of prior actions, they will be better positioned to make informed decisions.

Toral’s program will address how climate change causes a cascading chain of atmospheric events, including new patterns of precipitation, erosion, and extreme weather, challenging the resiliency of our infrastructure and lifestyles. These events can have devastating impacts, forcing people to move in search of safe locations to rebuild their lives and livelihoods. The presentation will also explore the environmental, legal, political, economic, and social solutions communities have developed to manage the effects of migration. He will give a closed presentation to HCC students earlier in the day.

The evening colloquium is free and open to both Highland’s campus and the community. For more information about the Boyer Colloquium, visit for the Zoom™ link or call 815-599-3493.