Buena Vista University will sponsor a symposium entitled "The Refugee Story" on Saturday, November 17, as part of its Academic and Cultural Events Series (ACES).
All of the symposium discussions will be held in Hansen Room 8 in the Harold Walter Siebens Forum on the BVU campus.
"These are fascinating stories that will draw BVU students and members of the community together. To hear these people talk will give us a newfound appreciation of being here in America," says ACES director Carla Offenburger.
Wayne Johnson, chief of the Iowa Bureau of Refugees, will begin the symposium at 10 a.m. by discussing the history of the Iowa Refugee program throughout the years and the current structure of the existing programs.
"The Life of a Refugee in Sudan" will begin at 11 a.m., featuring Dual Gony, who was born in South Sudan and served in the military since the age of 14. Gony will tell the story of how he fled his country on foot two times, once walking for ten months.
Beginning at 1 p.m., "Fleeing Laos and Finding Storm Lake" will feature an interview with Reverend Barry Thongvanh, a Tai Dam from the northern part of Vietnam. Thongvanh will tell his story of how he was forced to flee his country twice in twenty years and how he came to be pastor of the Southeast Asian Community Christian Church in Storm Lake.
Nicole Epting will present "World Refugee Programs through the United Nations" at 2 p.m. Epting will share here experiences working with the high commissioner of refugees. She has led a delegation to a refugee camp in Ethiopia and has participated in the World Refugee Day conference. Epting will give a global perspective of refugee issues.
"The Refugee Story" symposium is open to the public, free of charge.