On January 21, the Duke University undergraduate students in the Refugee Lives: Violence, Culture and Identity class, co-taught by miriam cooke, Maha Houssami, and Nancy Kalow, welcomed special guest Gulwali Passerlay via Skype from the United Kingdom (UK). Passerlay recently co-author The Lightless Sky (Harper Collins Publishers, 2016) which tells his harrowing one-year journey as a refugee from Afghanistan to the UK when he was just 12 years old. The now 21 year old Passerlay studies at the University of Manchester, and shared stories with the class about his travels through Iran, Turkey, Greece, Italy, and France, including the smugglers good and bad, safe-houses, prison, refugee camps, and the friends he made along the way.
Refugee Lives: Violence, Culture and Identity examines how writers, artists, and filmmakers represent the ways in which Afghans, Palestinians, Syrians, Iraqis, Sudanese and Egyptians become refugees and their adaptation strategies to new, harsh circumstances both in and outside the Arab world. The course discusses government and non-governmental organizations that have worked with Arab refugees since 1948 and explores the role played by refugees in constructing national identity and consciousness. Refugee Lives is cross listed in the department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies and the Center for Documentary Studies.