Yvonne Mwale – From Zambia to Germany

This past semester, I was in an African music class and did a presentation on the Zambian musician, Yvonne Mwale. After doing some preliminary research, I quickly realized that Yvonne was sharing an incredible life story through her music, and creating some utterly moving pieces that touched me both emotionally and spiritually. I reached out to her via social media to see if she was interested in speaking with me so I could learn more, and have since created a podcast that features our interview and some of her songs.

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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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Eugenia Forteza – From France to Argentina to the United States

Singer, actor, model, and entrepreneur, Eugenia Forteza is a beautiful and charming young Argentinian-French woman living in New York City. Although she is a super busy and an extremely accomplished artist, Eugenia Forteza took time out of her day to share with me her story of immigration to the United States from Argentina, and spoke about the powerful multicultural aspect of opera in her life. Described as a “total diva on stage,” by Mario Arevalo, I was delighted and humbled that Eugenia shared her warm personality and enthusiasm for music with me.

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