Aynur de Rouen, Curator of the Vera Beaudin Saeedpour Kurdish Library & Museum Collection, presented as part of a panel at the international academic workshop “Lines of Identity: Middle Eastern Diaspora in North America” at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Her presentation, “Now It Can Be Told: Kurdish Diasporic Experience in Binghamton,” was part of a panel titled “Middle East Minority Communities in Diaspora.” Ms. de Rouen spoke about how interviews with Iraqi Kurdish refugees living in and around Binghamton help uncover details about the impact of diaspora on these refugees and this affected the development of Kurdish identity. Through the testimonies, one can look into the world of Kurdish refugees and examine their struggles of survival and shared experience of oppression and how they shaped their cultural identity, specifically, the influence on the younger generations. Kurdish refugee narratives articulate how collective memory gives voice to the shared Kurdish past and refugees’ experiences in diaspora and the importance of spreading memories of the older generations, particularly to the second generation refugees in shaping identities and reconstructing places in the United States.
Other presenters on this panel included Sargon Donabed of Roger Williams University (“Assyria in America: Reflections on Micro-Macro-Community Relations”) and independent scholar, Peter Bush (“Protestant Christians of the Arabic-speaking Diaspora and the Presbyterian Church in Canada”).
To see more about the conference, view the workshop program here.