The Advocate
In 2009, I was invited to travel to Jordan, Lebanon and Syria with the New York based non-profit, Intersections International. Eight artists of different disciplines came along. As an actor and writer, I was commissioned to write a play. Not only did I write that play (No Place Called Home), but my life was forever changed. Sitting with Iraqi after Iraqi, hearing their stories and sharing their tea changed me. The stories of death and dismemberment, kidnappings and chaos, torture and terror were stories I had never heard, stories that many Americans never had. It was now my desire to share the stories with a largely unaware and apathetic American audience, in hopes of creating awareness and change.

The play premiered in NYC in 2010 in a successful Off-Broadway run. Stories ran in The New York Times and Huffington Post among others. We brought the show to the Midwest with a week long performance at Illusion Theatre in Minneapolis, MN. And after touring colleges and universities in 2011, we were invited to The John F. Kennedy Center as part of World Refugee Day by UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) in June 2012.

As NY chapter-head of The List Project, I helped mobilize New-Yorkers around recently resettled refugees and their financial, social and family needs. My passion for telling the stories continued with talks at Duke University, as part of Keenan Institute for Ethics, University of Illinois, Busboys and Poets, Revolution Books and more. I published several articles on the issue and started to work with organizations doing work with refugees. I also started to help professional Iraqi refugee artists to sell their work here in the states.

In 2012, I published a book with Veterans Book Project about the experience of witnessing this crisis. It is called Story Diary. And I am currently writing a memoir about my experience titled, My Iraq(i) Love Story. Publication information soon coming.

In light of the newly minted Syrian refugee crisis, it is more important than ever that we remember displaced people, especially the approximately 2 million Iraqis still displaced due to our invasion of their country.

I am available to speak, teach and act on this issue.

The Actress The Improv Trainer The Author The Officiant

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