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Speaker Event: Their Story is Our Story

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H.J. Patterson Hall, Room 2114
Thursday, May 02, 2019 - 12:30 PM to 1:45 PM

Their Story is Our Story: Understanding and Responding to the Global Refugee Crisis

Melissa Dalton-Bradford, Executive Director, Speaker, Author & Founding Board Member of Their Story is Our Story

In this multi-media presentation, audiences will learn through firsthand stories about the greatest humanitarian crisis of modern history. Currently, over 70 million people in the world are forcibly driven from their homes; over 25 million of those are formally recognized as refugees, over 55% are women and children, an alarming and growing number of those children are unaccompanied, and nearly 85% of refugees are being taken into only three countries, all of which are in the developing world. Experts anticipate that by 2030, the number of refugees will exceed the population of the USA. While the statistics are staggering, individual stories—of the displaced as well as of those who assist them on their journeys and who welcome them into host countries—are sobering but also inspiring.

Melissa and her global team of volunteers at Their Story is Our Story (TSOS) have been gathering and sharing such firsthand stories to audiences since 2016 in an effort to reveal the individual behind the “refugee” label, cultivate meaningful relationships with those seeking refuge locally, and to build strong and inclusive communities worldwide. Through film, photography, art, and intimate interviews, TSOS brings the distant (Bangladesh, Italy, France, Germany, the US Southern Border) into proximity, and, partnering with global and local refugee-supporting organizations, mobilizes audiences to engage in the lives of the displaced right among us to build strong and inclusive communities.

Melissa resides with her husband Randall near Frankfurt, Germany, where she and her family arrived on the eve of a turning point in world history, when hundreds of thousands of people displaced by war, terrorism, and mortal peril trekked westward, seeking safety. A global nomad of 30 years, an author, (Global Mom: A Memoir; On Loss & Living Onward; essays and poetry in several anthologies), and an intercultural integration consultant, Melissa immediately volunteered teaching refugees German in an emergency shelter set up in her local high school gym. Those people and their stories rerouted her life. With the global humanitarian crisis on the rise, Melissa volunteers full time leading TSOS as its Executive Director. She is the wife of Randall, and mother of four adult children.