The Lantern Series

Talks & Music Tour

Art. Advocacy. Conversation.

The Lantern Talks
 Music and conversation with musician Thao Nguyen, WRC's Joan Timoney,
and special guest host Grammy Award-winning musician Steve Earle

Latest Events

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The Lantern Talks

A series of online conversations that bridges art with advocacy in the fight for the rights of refugees. Join us for coffee and conversation.

February's Event - Music and Conversation

Music and conversation with musician Thao Nguyen and Joan Timoney, Vice President of External Relations at the Women’s Refugee Commission. With special guest host Grammy Award-winning musician Steve Earle


Join us for a discussion about the current situation for refugee women and girls around the world and a musical performance by Thao Nguyen.

Live Q&A - Noon ET, 2/25/21


Steve Earle is one of the most acclaimed singer-songwriters of his generation, with multiple Grammy Awards to his name. His songs have been recorded by Johnny Cash, Joan Baez, Emmylou Harris, and The Pretenders, among others. Steve has published a novel and collection of short stories; produced albums; and acted in films, television, and on the stage. He currently hosts a radio show for Sirius XM. In November 2020, he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and in January 2021 he released his 21st studio album, J.T., as a tribute to his late son Justin Townes Earle.

Steve Earle

Thao Nguyen, the proud daughter of Vietnamese refugees of war, is a songwriter, musician, and producer based in the Bay Area. She has been recording and touring for over 15 years, solo and with her indie rock band Thao & The Get Down Stay Down. Her music has been described by The New Yorker as "music that makes you move from your bones out...[it's] keenly intelligent and original." Thao was the subject of a PBS documentary “Nobody Dies,” which followed her on a trip to Vietnam with her mother. She is an advocate for many causes, including prison reform, refugee and immigrant rights, and LGBTQ+ equality.

Thao Nguyen

Joan Timoney is the WRC’s vice president, advocacy and external relations. Prior to joining the WRC, Joan was the Vice President for Programs at the Partnership for Public Service, and worked for a number of years on Capitol Hill. She was a Peace Corps Volunteer and later served as the Peace Corps’ Director of Congressional Relations, Director of the Crisis Corps program, and the Chief of Staff.

Joan Timoney

Special Guest Host

About The Lantern Talks

The Lantern Talks is series of online conversations that bridges art with advocacy in the fight for the rights of refugees. Building on the success of the Lantern Tour (and as we continue to have to put the tour on hold due to COVID-19), the Lantern Talks will continue to advance WRC’s art and advocacy model of engagement.

The primary goal of the Lantern Talks is to create an informative and entertaining format of art, advocacy, and discussion (online for this year) that will engage audiences with all aspects of refugee issues. The Lantern Talks will feature filmmakers, musicians, journalists, and more.


Previous Events

The Undocumented Lawyer Live Q&A - Jan 2021

The Undocumented Lawyer*: Lizbeth Mateo is an immigration attorney. She’s also undocumented. When a client takes sanctuary in a church, Lizbeth’s own experience guides their fight for justice.

*2020 Tribeca Film Festival Official Selection.

A lively discussion with the filmmakers, with Special guest host, Trudie Styler.


Lizbeth is an activist, attorney, and the film’s protagonist. She’s also undocumented. She was sworn in as a lawyer in California, and pledged to uphold the constitution of a country that doesn’t recognize her as a citizen. Now, as both a lawyer and an undocumented immigrant, Mateo is fighting for asylum seekers and immigration reform.

Lizbeth Mateo

Lizbeth Mateo

Chris is one of the film’s directors and the co-founder of Optimist, a non-profit production studio that creates films with impact. His work has been featured on HBO, Netflix, and The Atlantic, and has helped raise over $91 million dollars for poverty alleviation and refugee support efforts.

Chris Temple

Chris Temple

Michelle Brané is the senior director of the Migrant Rights and Justice program at the Women’s Refugee Commission. One of the nation’s foremost experts on US asylum protections, migrant children, and detention policies for migrants, with more than three decades of experience in the field, Michelle conducts research and monitors policy, develops recommendations, and advocates for the critical protection needs of migrant women, children, and other vulnerable migrant populations in the United States while holding governments and policymakers accountable. She leads the program’s national advocacy on critical issues such as family separation, border policies, alternatives to detention, and unaccompanied children’s rights.

Michelle Brané

Michelle Brané

Special Guest Host

Trudie Styler is an actress, film producer, director, human rights activist, environmentalist, Unicef Ambassador, prize-winning breeder of Irish wolfhounds, organic farmer and winemaker.
 Styler is co-founder of the Rainforest Fund, an organization devoted to
 protecting rainforests and their indigenous peoples. Since 1991 she has raised nearly $40 million for its work, expanding into 18 countries across four continents.
  Styler has produced over 30 films including Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Moon, and Still Alice. Her directorial debut Freak Show premiered in 2018. Styler was awarded an honorary doctorate from Brown University in recognition of her work for the environment and in the arts.

Trudie Styler

Trudie Styler


The Women's Refugee Commission © 2021