Displacement Today: TSOS Lecture Series at The College of Wooster

College of Wooster Lecture Series

We are pleased to have been invited to present a series of seminars to the students at The College of Wooster in April, as well as our multimedia music performance The Story of Our Journey.


“The Difficult Path from Forced Displacement to Integration and Why We Should Care”
Wednesday, April 12 at 7:30-9:00pm
Gault Recital Hall
Hosted by the Social Activism Pathway and English Department

“Power of One: How Stories Change Our Perception and Influence Society”
Thursday, April 13 at 11:00-12:00pm
CoRE at Andrews Library
Hosted by the Digital and Visual Storytelling Pathway

“Humanitarian Crises Facing Displaced Persons Today: What Can Policymakers Do?”
Thursday, April 13 at 4:00-5:30pm
Lowry Center Room 201
Hosted by the Political Science Department

“The Story of Our Journey: A Multimedia Music Performance and Panel Discussion”
Thursday, April 13 at 7:00-9:00pm
Gault Recital Hall
Hosted by the Music Department

“Closing Panel Discussion: What Can You Do?”
Friday, April 14 at 10:00-11:00am
Gault Recital Hall
Hosted by the Music Department


Dr. Elizabeta Jevtic-Somlai

Associate Director, Director of Thought Leadership, Their Story is Our Story; Former Refugee

An educator and an activist at heart, Liz holds a Ph.D. in International Conflict Analysis from the University of Kent, England, UK. She has worked for over 15 years in international security, humanitarian and displacement work, and in education, including 10 years with the Preparatory Commission for the Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), in Vienna, Austria, and five years as a visiting professor at Brigham Young University’s Political Science Department. Native to former Yugoslavia, and a refugee herself, she knows that trials are part of the journey, that life is precious, and has presented, researched and published on the topic of displacement, refugee rights and integration locally and internationally.

Brandi Kilmer

Director of Community Programs, Their Story is our Story

Brandi Kilmer began volunteering as an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher and family mentor in 2016 while living in Southern California. Since moving to Northern Virginia in 2018, she continues to teach ESL and mentor newcomers while acting as the Director of Community Programs for Their Story is Our Story (TSOS). In her role with TSOS, she manages remote story development and production with community programs teams in 12 United States and eight international locations to foster community involvement in successful refugee integration. Her work in the Washington D.C. area includes advisory roles with the Georgetown University School of Medicine, NoVa Coalition for Refugee Wellness, and the Virginia Community Capacity Initiative. Brandi has also represented TSOS at the 2022 and 2023 Idaho Conference on Refugees, presenting to audiences about integration solutions. She has a BA in English from Brigham Young University, is the mother of five children, and enjoys the great outdoors.

Mahsa Ahmadi

Contributing Speaker, Their Story is Our Story; Co-Founder of Saar Stories YouTube Channel; Former Refugee

Leaving medical school behind in her third year in Afghanistan, Mahsa immigrated to the United States with her parents seeking safety and a better future. Mahsa graduated from George Mason University in the Fall of 2022. Her challenges as a newcomer made her an enthusiastic advocate of refugees’ mental health. Volunteering for Afghan women’s rights from the age of 11 beside her mom, Hassina Neekzad, Mahsa learned to be the voice of the vulnerable. Alongside her friend from Afghanistan, she has recently launched Saar Stories, a YouTube channel where she shares letters sent directly from Afghan women with the world.

Dr. Csaba Jevtic-Somlai

Contributing Artist, Their Story is Our Story; International Clarinet Association Health and Wellness Committee Chair

As an avid performer and educator, Csaba has been performing professionally in Europe, Asia, and North America since 1998, as a soloist and with full-scale orchestras in many genres as well as in chamber ensembles and with electronics. He has collaborated with the Budapest Fireguard Orchestra, Utah Lyric Theatre, SouLetUsGroove Viennese pop band, and the L.E.O. Theatre in Vienna, Austria, among others. He holds a Ph.D. in Performance from Arizona State University and is the Chair of the International Clarinet Association Health and Wellness Committee.

On the Multimedia Composition:

Dr. Jevtic-Somlai’s initial idea of materializing current issues surrounding the refugee crisis into an art composition resulted in collaborative work with Wooster’s very own Dr. Dylan Findley, yielding the multimedia composition The Story of Our Journey.

The authentic audio and video interview footage provided by Their Story is Our Story supports the clarinet and fixed media electronics, providing the viewer with an opportunity to reflect and experience as refugees share details of their personal, arduous journeys from home and safety lost to a home and safety found.

If you are local, we invite you to join us for this lecture series. If you are interested in having us do a similar lecture series at your school or event, please contact us.

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