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Fleeing from War-Torn Somalia

Published on: February 14, 2022

Abdi Nor Iftin
Abdi Nor Iftin, author of "Call Me American"

BANGOR, MAINE – As part of Husson’s annual celebration of Black History Month, the University will be hosting a presentation by Yarmouth resident Abdi Nor Iftin in Peabody Hall’s Kominsky Auditorium at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, February 15, 2022.

“This presentation will inspire students to reflect on their personal identities and the cultural experiences of others,” said Sarah Dyer, PhD (c), the university’s diversity, equity, and inclusion officer and instructor. “After hearing Abdi’s story, I’m confident that students will engage in some introspection about their role as citizens of Maine, the United States and the world.”

Abdi Nor Iftin is the author of “Call Me American.” This autobiography talks about the author’s personal journey. He describes his experience growing up in Somalia; a conflict-torn country ravaged by civil war and destructive global influences. His story highlights the strengths of community and the pitfalls of isolation.

Ultimately, Iftin was able to survive Somalia’s civil war, a totalitarian regime and a dangerous journey to find refuge in Kenya, and later in the United States, by relying on wit and persistence. In the end, he triumphs over adversity and relocates to Maine where he now enjoys the outdoors and assists newly arriving immigrants. His life story demonstrates how others’ humanity can be subverted by power, politics and prejudice.

The event is sponsored by the University’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee and is open to all members of the Husson community. Reporters and members of the Husson University community who cannot physically attend the event, can attend virtually by clicking on this link: https://husson.zoom.us/j/98794843716. The lecture will consist of a 45-minute presentation by Abdi Nor Iftin followed by 15 minute question and answer session with those in attendance.

Anyone who attends in person will not need to register in advance for this event. In addition, there is no charge to attend. Online attendees will be asked to sign in to join the presentation.

Limited copies of Iftin’s memoir, “Call Me American” are available on a first come, first serve basis in Husson University’s Office of Human Resource, located in Peabody Hall, Room 103. 

More about Abdi Nor Iftin:

As a child, Abdi Nor Iftin learned English by listening to American pop artists like Michael Jackson and watching films starring action heroes like Arnold Schwarzenegger.[1] As someone who enjoyed American clothes and dance moves, he became known in the Mogadishu area as “Abdi American.[2]

When the radical Islamist group al-Shabaab rose to power in 2006, it became dangerous to celebrate Western culture.[3] In order to make a living, Iftin leveraged his command of the English language to file reports with NPR and other internet news sources. This allowed him to gain a worldwide audience of listeners.[4] 

After fleeing to Kenya as a Somalian refugee, Iftin won entrance to the U.S. in our nation’s annual visa lottery. He is now a proud Mainer who is on the path toward citizenship. 

For more than 120 years, Husson University has shown its adaptability and strength in delivering educational programs that prepare future leaders to handle the challenges of tomorrow through innovative undergraduate and graduate degrees. With a commitment to delivering affordable classroom, online and experiential learning opportunities, Husson University has come to represent a superior value in higher education. The hallmarks of a Husson education include advanced knowledge delivered through quality educational programs in business; health and education; pharmacy studies; science and humanities; as well as communication. According to a recent analysis of tuition and fees by U.S. News & World Report, Husson University is one of the most affordable private colleges in New England. For more information about educational opportunities that can lead to personal and professional success, visit Husson.edu.

[1] Goodreads, “Call Me American: A Memoir,” Accessed February 11, 2022, https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/36750057-call-me-american

[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid

[4] Ibid

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