What We Carried: A Glimpse into the Refugee Crisis

Nicole Khamis

BA ’17, International Relations

Our capstone event of the Michigan Refugee Assistance Program, “What We Carried: A Glimpse into the Refugee Crisis,” advocates for diversity and inclusion by giving members of the University of Michigan community the opportunity to directly hear from former refugees as they share their moving stories about resettling in the United States. We seek not only to raise awareness about this issue through educational events, but also work to pair students with incoming refugees through a partnership with Jewish Family Services, a local resettlement agency, and the Detroit Mayor’s Office. Our club relies on human interaction to break down stereotypes and the power of education to equip our campus community with the necessary tools to be engaged citizens in this unprecedented issue. To further this interaction, our capstone event will be a panel discussion. We will host recently resettled refugees and professionals within the refugee sector who will each speak about their involvement in the current crisis. Freelance photographer Jim Lommasson will also be joining us at this event, where he will be presenting his exhibit “What We Carried,” which captures stories of displacement, loss, and preservation of identity by people who have fled their homes to seek asylum. Through this event, we hope to humanize refugees by allowing them to reclaim their own narratives by allowing them space to speak about their stories of displacement. This is unique in that we are the first student club to host recently arrived refugees, and allow students to directly engage with those most deeply affected.

Library Mentor: Chuck Ransom