Authority Magazine: Drew Gurley Interview with Melissa Dalton-Bradford
I had the pleasure of interviewing Melissa Dalton-Bradford, an author of books, essays and poetry, and a “global citizen,” who presents professionally on refugee relief and intercultural integration, a subject she has mastered after nearly 28 years of raising four children across nine countries and six languages.
Melissa and her husband currently reside outside of Frankfurt, Germany, from where Melissa devotes her energy and time as co-founder of two thriving international non-profits, including Their Story is Our Story (TSOS), an organization devoted to documenting and disseminating through multimedia first-hand accounts of refugee stories.
Thank you so much for joining us! Let’s show everyone you’re a normal human being. What are your hobbies, favorite places to visit, pet peeves? Tell us about YOU when you’re not at the office.
“Hobbies: For me, there’s almost nothing as therapeutically addictive as walking and hiking in nature. Gratefully, I live right on the edge of beautiful German forests with some elevation, and I have one of the most high-energy dogs known to man (a male Magyar Viszla named Finn), so I walk every day, sometimes when work permits for a few hours. I talk out loud, rail to the pines, preach, and just ask Finn, I also sing. I need that daily solitude because my other great hobby is people.
“Favorite Places: I love to travel anywhere and everywhere and get steeped in history and connect with others who are quite different from myself. We try to return regularly to the many places we have lived, but there are special little-known crannies in Paris and remote islands in Norway that hold meaning for us. That said, no place is really significant for me without a human experience associated with it. There are simple street corners and park benches that are more significant to me than many of the most famous monuments and museums we used to live right next to.
“Pet Peeves: Why do we English-speakers lumber into a yurt in Mongolia (or a cafe in Portugal, or a hotel in Croatia) and, without even trying to greet in the foreign language, launch right into our barking directives — -all in English? Why do we do that? Why?! Grrrrrr……”
Can you tell us something about you that few people know?
“I’m am so afraid of heights, I can hardly climb a ladder. And, I’m pretty sure I could live on nothing but water and homemade Syrian baklava.”
Do you have any exciting projects going on right now?
“The non-profit I helped found, Their Story is Our Story, is publishing Let Me Tell You My Story this October. I can honestly say it’s a ‘life-changing’ volume because all of us who have worked for two years to collect, transcribe, translate, photograph, paint, film and write these first-hand refugee stories have been permanently changed by the experience.
“We gathered these inspiring accounts of tragedy and survival, hope and courage during our team trips to camps and the streets in Greece, Italy, France and Germany. Also, in the book are uplifting profiles of volunteers from around the world who have invested their time and talents to help fellow human beings find their way in a new and foreign world. Brandon Stanton (of Humans of N” fame) has endorsed the book, saying it is a “meaningful and important collection’.”
Many people say success correlates with the people you meet in your life. Can you describe two that most impacted your success and why?
Read the rest of the interview HERE.
The Emerald Project is a Utah-based organization that carefully designs dialogues to engage with non-Muslims to make Salt Lake Valley a more welcoming home to Muslims. As many of our refugee friends belong to the Muslim faith, we applaud opportunities that foster understanding and were pleased to support The Emerald Project’s 3rd annual “Slam the Islamophobia” event on February 15th.
Refugees often risk their lives crossing deserts, jungles, and oceans all in the search for shelter, freedom, or happiness. Yet, even once they’ve reached physical safety, mental mountains emerge that make daily life an uphill climb. At the November 2022 conference for the Utah Chapter of the Society for Public Health Education (USOPHE), presenters Shurooq Al Jewari and Sasha Sloan discussed mental health and inclusion, focusing on immigrants and refugees.