Edward Bahnson one of 60 New US Citizens Naturalized at UNC

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ Raleigh-Durham Field Office held a naturalization ceremony at the FedEx Center on UNC’s campus last Friday where residents from 30 different countries across the world were sworn in as American citizens.

Edward Bahnson one of 60 New US Citizens Naturalized at UNC click to enlarge UNC professor Edward Bahnson (left) with his husband (right) following naturalization ceremony. Photo via Daniela Ocampo.

 The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ Raleigh-Durham Field Office held a naturalization ceremony at the FedEx Center on UNC’s campus last Friday where residents from 30 different countries across the world were sworn in as American citizens.

UNC – Chapel Hill’s executive vice provost and chief international officer Ron Strauss said in his ceremony introduction that UNC’s extensive history as one of the nation’s best public universities is interwoven with the experience of immigrants.

“This is our fourth time doing it,” Strauss said of the naturalization ceremony. “We love it; we love the idea that we’re here to help new Americans cross the threshold and, even more exciting, there were some faculty members and students and staff in this group.”

The new citizens include assistant professor in the Department of Surgery with an adjunct appointment in biochemistry and biophysics at the School of Medicine Edward Bahnson.

“The ceremony having been at UNC was particularly meaningful because I am faculty here and this is my academic home and where I spend most of my time.

“I’ve been living here for 15 years in the United States, and I’ve been calling it my home for quite awhile. I remember one time coming to the United States from Uruguay, and I felt I was coming back home and not away from home. So, to be fully integrated with society and being able to participate and vote and having a feeling of belonging, not feeling like, ‘Oh, I’m not from here; I’m not from there; I’m not from anywhere.’ Now I feel more validated in my belonging here.”

An all-female UNC a cappella group Cadence sang the national anthem at the event, and UNC’s ROTC Color Guard presented the colors.

Strauss said being able to do the ceremony at the Fed Ex Global Center in the Nelson Mandela Auditorium represents that global reach for peace.

“The stories here are incredible,” Strauss said. “People have had a journey to this moment, and you can see that on their faces as they were walking up.”

Representatives from the USCIS Raleigh-Durham Field Office were at the ceremony to assist and answer immigration and citizenship related questions for the public.

story courtesy of Daniela Ocampo of the May 2, 2018 issue of  Chapelboro