It started for me 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 were invited to hear refugee stories and share them with American audiences through our respective art forms. I was commissioned to write a play. No Place Called Home was the result. My play premiered in NYC in 2010 in a successful Off-Broadway run. We were later invited to perform at The John F. Kennedy Center as part of "World Refugee Day" by UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) in June 2012.
My life was forever changed after that trip. I sat with Iraqi after Iraqi, hearing their stories and drinking their tea. Their stories of death and dismemberment, kidnappings and chaos, torture and terror changed me. I needed to use my voice. I still do.
My advocacy expanded with the Syrian civil war into wider refugee work. And I am currently working on a new project about the Rohingya refugees.
I am available to speak, teach and educate on this issue and my experience in it.
There are currently 65 million displaced people—each with their own story.
Speaker: Illinois State University, Virtual session, November 2020
Speaker: Gail Borden Public Library, Elgin, IL, August 2019
Speaker: Illinois State University, Normal IL, April 2019
Speaker: Faith Over Fear Training, Mecca Mosque, Willowbrook, IL, February, 2019
Panelist: MedGlobal fundraiser with Rohingyan Scholar Azeem Ibrahim, Villa Park, IL, May 2018
Presenter: Chicago Theological Seminary Bi-Annual Conference: RIOTcon, Chicago, IL, May 2018
Keynote Speaker: Peace Lecture Series @ St. Mark's Episcopal, Palm Beach, Fl, March 2018
Keynote Speaker: Gustavus Adolphus College Staff Enhancement, St.Peter, MN, February 2018
Presenter/Panelist: Duke University Keenan Institute of Ethics, Raleigh-Durham, NC March 2014
Panelist: UNHCR World Refugee Day, Kennedy Center for the Arts, Washington D.C. June 2013
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Classes/workshops, as well as lectures are available at a high school, college or professional level. Previous classes have been taught at Chicago Theological Seminary, University of Minnesota Morris, Winona State University, Duke University, Holy Cross College, Groton School and more!
Through stories, slides and activities, students explore what it is like to live as refugee, gaining compassion, empathy and knowledge.
Arts as Activism
This workshop teaches the importance of singularizing stories as it shares my journey as an artist/advocate and helps students explore their own passions and means of acting on them as artists.
In this session, we explore the skill of storytelling and how story can shift the narrative in the world.