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LOCAL>> Diya Abdo – American Refuge: True Stories of the Refugee Experience

Presented by Book Passage at Streaming Arts

Sep 15 2022
LOCAL>> Diya Abdo – American Refuge: True Stories of the Refugee Experience

Diya Abdo photo courtesy of UNC Greensboro

Author Event: Conversation-sparking exploration of refugee experiences told in their own words

In conversation with Mylene Dressler

A provocative, conversation-sparking exploration of refugee experiences told in their own words, for readers of Karla Cornejo Villavicencio’s The Undocumented Americans and Viet Thanh Nguyen

In this intimate and eye-opening book, Diya Abdo–daughter of refugees, U.S. immigrant, English professor, and activist — shares the stories of seven refugees.

Coming from around the world, they’re welcomed by Every Campus A Refuge (ECAR), an organization Diya founded to leverage existing resources at colleges to provide temporary shelter to refugee families.

Bookended by Diya’s powerful essay “Radical Hospitality” and the inspiring coda “Names and Numbers,” each chapter weaves the individual stories into a powerful journey along a common theme.

The lives explored in American Refuge include the artist who, before he created the illustration on the cover of this book, narrowly escaped two assassination attempts in Iraq and now works at Tyson cutting chicken.

We learn that these refugees from Burma, Burundi, Iraq, Palestine, Syria, and Uganda lived in homes they loved, left against their will, moved to countries without access or rights, and were among the 1% of the “lucky” few to resettle after a long wait, almost certain never to return to the homes they never wanted to leave. We learn that anybody, at any time, can become a refugee.


Dr. Diya Abdo is a second-generation Palestinian refugee, born and raised in Jordan. Her teaching, research, and scholarship focus on Arab women writers and Arab and Islamic feminisms with a particular interest in Arab women writers’ narrative strategies, life writing, and the cross-cultural translation of autobiography. She has also published poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction. Her public essays focus on the intersection of gender, political identity, and vocation. She was named a finalist in the Arab Hope Makers Award (2018).

Mylene Dressler is the critically acclaimed author of six novels, as well as short stories, memoir, and essays. Her work has appeared in the Kenyon Review, Literary Hub, the Washington Post and many other journals and magazines, and her literary awards include the Carson McCullers Fellowship, the Paisano Fellowship in Literature, the North Carolina Artists Fellowship and the Fulbright Award. She is a professor emerita at Guilford College, and lives and writes on the Oregon coast and in the Canyon Country of southern Utah.


Livestreamed and available to view free anytime after the event on YouTube!

Contact: 415-927-0960


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Additional time info:

2:00 - 3:30 pm