Virtual Event: Elly Fishman

presenting

Refugee High:
Coming of Age in America

in conversation with JACQUELINE BHABHA

Date

Sep
9
Thursday
September 9, 2021
12:00 PM ET

Location

Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.

Tickets

Free - $5 contribution suggested at registration

Harvard Book Store's virtual event series welcomes award-winning writer ELLY FISHMAN for a discussion of her book Refugee High: Coming of Age in America. She will be joined in conversation by JACQUELINE BHABHA, Director of Research at the Harvard FXB Center for Health and Human Rights and author of Can We Solve the Migration Crisis?.

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About Refugee High

For a century, Chicago’s Roger C. Sullivan High School has been a home to immigrant and refugee students. In 2017, during the worst global refugee crisis in history, its immigrant population numbered close to three hundred—or nearly half the school—and many were refugees new to the country. These young people came from thirty-five different countries, speaking among themselves more than thirty-eight different languages.

For these refugee teens, life in Chicago is hardly easy. They have experienced the world at its worst and carry the trauma of the horrific violence they fled. In America, they face poverty, racism, and xenophobia, but they are still teenagers—flirting, dreaming, and working as they navigate their new life in America.

Refugee High is a riveting chronicle of the 2017–8 school year at Sullivan High, a time when anti-immigrant rhetoric was at its height in the White House. Even as we follow teachers and administrators grappling with the everyday challenges facing many urban schools, we witness the complicated circumstances and unique education needs of refugee and immigrant children: Alejandro may be deported just days before he is scheduled to graduate; Shahina narrowly escapes an arranged marriage; and Belenge encounters gang turf wars he doesn’t understand.

Equal parts heartbreaking and inspiring, Refugee High raises vital questions about the priorities and values of a public school and offers an eye-opening and captivating window into the present-day American immigration and education systems.

Praise for Refugee High

“Beautifully written, deeply reported, and bursting with humanity, Refugee High is a book you will read in a hurry and remember forever.” —Jonathan Eig, author of Ali: A Life and Luckiest Man

“Elly Fishman’s Refugee High takes readers inside one of the most remarkable schools in the country. Fishman brings to life the individual experiences of the school’s teenagers, teachers and administrators, their struggles and joys. Through these intimate accounts, Refugee High shows the widening conflicts—of a city, a nation and world—that concern us all.” —Ben Austen, author of High-Risers: Cabrini-Green and the Fate of American Public Housing

“As the only refugee in an Oklahoma high school in the 1990s, I used to have fantasies like this: what if a school existed that represented the wider world, everyone displaced, everyone applying for the same papers, pockets of society not defined by ill-fitting American markers, but following the precise contours of my own continent, its many faiths and colors? Refugee High is the realization of that daydream, and a riveting real-life answer to those youthful mysteries. A deep dive into an experiment I’ve always wanted to witness, meticulously researched, lovingly written, and rich in revelation.” —Dina Nayeri, the author of The Ungrateful Refugee and Refuge

Elly Fishman
Elly Fishman

Elly Fishman

Elly Fishman worked as a senior editor and writer at Chicago magazine. Her features have won numerous awards including a City Regional Magazine Award for her article “Welcome to Refugee High,” her first report on the students and faculty at Chicago’s Roger C. Sullivan High School. Refugee High: Coming of Age in America (The New Press) is based on the article, and won the prestigious Studs and Ida Terkel Prize for a first book in the public interest. A Chicago native and graduate of the University of Chicago, Fishman currently lives in Milwaukee with her husband and their dog and teaches in the Journalism Department at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

Photo Credit: Alyssa Schukar

Jacqueline Bhabha
Jacqueline Bhabha

Jacqueline Bhabha

Jacqueline Bhabha, JD, MSc, is Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Director of Research at the Harvard FXB Center for Health and Human Rights. She has published extensively on issues of transnational child migration, refugee protection, children’s rights, and citizenship. Professor Bhabha currently serves on the board of the Scholars at Risk Network, the World Peace Foundation, the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion, and the Journal of Refugee Studies. She is a frequent adviser to UNHCR, UNICEF, IOM and civil society organizations working on forced migration-related issues.

 

Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.
Event Series: Virtual Event Series

Harvard Book Store’s award-winning event series continues online! Named "Best of Boston: 2020 Best Virtual Author Series" and "2021 Best Virtual Author Series" by Boston magazine.

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