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WKU, community partners to host ‘Forced from Our Villages’ Dec. 1

More than a thousand refugees from Burma have arrived in Bowling Green in recent years. They would like to share their stories with all of us, their new neighbors.

Burma is an East Asian country bordering Thailand. Due to increasingly brutal persecution of ethnic minorities in Burma by the military regime, hundreds of thousands of people have fled the country. Some of the refugees that have arrived to America are Kayan, an ethnic minority from the Karenni State in Burma.

The Karenni community of Bowling Green would like to invite campus and community members to an evening to understand their situation and how they came to our city. The event, “Forced from Our Villages: The Karenni Community Journey from Burma to Bowling Green,” will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Dec. 1 at WKU’s Mass Media and Technology Hall Auditorium.

There will be an introduction by Dr. Soleiman Kiasatpour of the WKU Department of Political Science. Karenni food prepared by the community members to be shared with attendants will be served after the presentation. The event is sponsored by the WKU Office of International Programs, the WKU ALIVE Center for Community Partnerships, the Bowling Green International Center, and DosVelas Pictures.

Karenni community members will share their stories accompanied by original footage by filmmakers Jessica Leung and Paco Beltrán, who lived in the Thailand-Burma border for a year while documenting the struggle of the Karenni people. Their upcoming documentary “In a Strange Land” seeks to bring attention to the current situation in Burma and address questions about this critical moment in the history of Karenni people, such as: What opportunities await those who will resettle? How will this Diaspora affect their culture and customs? And, what is the future for those who stay behind?

To see a trailer of the film, visit http://www.dosvelaspictures.com/In_a_strange_land_ENG.html

Contact: Jessica Leung at (270) 904-0350; or Nadia Denov DeLeon at (270) 782-0966 or nadia.deleon@wku.edu

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