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American Refuge

True Stories of the Refugee Experience

American Refuge Buy Now
Format Paperback Ebook Audiobook
ISBN 978-1-58642-342-1 978-1-58642-343-8 978-1-58642-344-5
Published Sep 6, 2022
Imprint Truth to Power
Category Politics Politics & Law

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

Forced to leave their homes, they came to America

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:

Life Before (“The Body Leaves its Soul Behind”)

The Moment of Rupture (“Proof and Persecution”)

The Journey (“Right Next Door”)

Arrival/Resettlement (“Back to the Margins”)

A Few Years Later (“From Camp to Campus”)

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.

About the Author

Diya Abdo

Diya Abdo is the first daughter and grandaughter of Palestinian refugees born in their country of displacement, Jordan. A graduate of Yarmouk University, she earned master’s and doctorate degrees from Drew University. She is a full professor in the English department of Guilford College, where she founded the first chapter of Every Campus A Refuge (ECAR), which aims to host global refugees. Diya is the recipient of several national community engagement awards, including the 2021 J.M.K. Innovation Prize for her work with ECAR. She lives in Greensboro, NC, with her partner, daughters, and cats.


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