Sayed Adiban – From Afghanistan to Iran to Indonesia

As a college student studying International Relations, I have learned a great deal about various international conflicts and their history. However, I have not had the chance to speak with those who were actually affected by these conflicts and learn about the personal ramifications that these historical events have had. Through an organization called “NaTakallam” and with the help of the W&J Diversity & Leadership Office, I was able to bring Sayed Adiban to campus “virtually” through a new program called “Refugee Voices,” which seeks to increase intercultural awareness on campus. Sayed spoke with us about his experience as an Afghan refugee in Iran and Indonesia, about the uncertainty of refugee life, and highlighted the common misconception of Afghan refugees as being “dangerous people.” I was humbled by the bravery that Sayed exhibited through reliving these experiences and was grateful that he shared with us such personal stories, outlining the unimaginable hardship of the refugee experience. 

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From Pakistan to the United States – Huma Affan

A forward on Huma Affan’s story by her daughter, Nabeeha Affan.

“I think it often surprises people how different growing up is when your parents are immigrants. Because I was born in the United States and have lived here my entire life, I often find it difficult to imagine my parents life in Pakistan. As children of immigrants, we hope our parents understand that we may have different values from them. And, as our parents, they hope that these values do not intrude on the culture and traditions that have been passed down for generations. The emergence of advanced technologies as well as the difference in where we were raised has contributed to a great generational divide between children of immigrants and their parents. Growing up with this divide is often strenuous, especially when you are a minority. However, we also grow up knowing that our parents sacrificed so much for us and that they love us despite these differences.”

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From Pakistan to the United States – Matti Inayat

A foreword on Matti Inayat’s story by his son, Anosh Matti.

“This is a narrative of my Dad’s journey from Pakistan to the United States. He wrote about the religious intolerance he experienced as a Catholic that led him to take the step of seeking religious asylum. Whether or not you know some of the story, or none, please take the time to read from start to end. I promise you will feel more fortunate about your life.”

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From India to the United States – Dr. Prashanth Bharadwaj

Dr. Prashanth Bharadwaj is a professor of management and Dean’s Associate in the Eberly College of Business and IT at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He first came to the United States in 1988 to attend graduate school but stayed because of the economic and educational opportunities he was granted. Although he has lived in the United States for three decades, he still retains close connections to India and even helps American students to discover his beautiful country through study abroad options in the winter.

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From India to The Gambia – Muhammad Rafiq

The smallest country in Africa and almost entirely surrounded by Senegal, The Gambia hosts many rich cultures and diverse ecosystems. While visiting this past January for a class, I found the time to speak with several individuals about their lives in The Gambia, particularly focusing on what made migrants choose to call “The Smiling Coast” their new home.

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