Life on Hold: Living Within Limits
October 17, 2017 from 5–7 pm, Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union Theatre
This panel discussion is part of the "Imagine All The People" Common Experience project. It will focus on the experiences of young refugees growing up inside and outside of their home country or territory, especially in refugee camps, before coming to the United States. Refugees from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East will be represented.
“Imagine All The People”
Over the past few decades, civil unrest, ethnic cleansing, war, famine, and environmental crises have contributed to an ever-growing global refugee crisis. Millions of individuals have fled their home countries; many are still homeless while countless families remain separated. The sometimes hostile backlash directed at refugees both from countries near conflict zones and from refugee host countries further compounds feelings of loss, desperation, isolation, and displacement.
San Diego has the largest refugee population in the United States. Already a diverse city, our refugees enhance and contribute to San Diego’s cultural fabric, representing various cultures, ethnicities, religions, and languages from Vietnam, Laos, Somalia, Burma/Myanmar, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Palestine, just to name a few. And while San Diego receives these new Americans, the question of where home really is remains.
“Imagine All The People,” a SDSU Common Experience project, explores the experiences of refugees who have resettled in San Diego - from the often violent and destructive events that led to their flight, to their arrival in the United States. For many refugees, the notion of home is liminal and ambiguous, tied to a nation that may no longer exist, or connected to a place they’ve never been or can’t remember. But this sense of home, however fleeting and unstable, is also tied to an identity that transcends place. We want students to imagine what the experiences and consequences of displacement are, and how migration impacts individual and national identity. But we also invite students to contemplate what the world would be like without national identity, as John Lennon’s “Imagine” so eloquently asks of us.