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Keynote speaker: Dr. Diya abdo

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Diya Abdo is the Lincoln Financial Professor of English at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC. A second-generation Palestinian refugee born and raised in Jordan, Dr. Abdo’s teaching, research, and scholarship focus on Arab women writers, Arab and Islamic feminisms, and refugee studies. Her book AMERICAN REFUGE: True Stories of the Refugee Experience was selected as a North Carolina Reads 2024 Book. In 2015, Dr. Abdo founded Every Campus A Refuge (ECAR), which advocates for housing refugee families on college and university campus grounds and supporting them in their resettlement. The flagship chapter at Guilford College, now one of several ECAR campuses, has hosted nearly 90 refugees thus far. Dr. Abdo is the recipient of several awards including the J.M. Kaplan Fund’s Innovation Prize (2021); she sits on the Advisory Board of the Community Sponsorship Hub.

Keynote Title:
Moving Stories: Refugee Journeys and the Power of Storytelling

6:3pm - 7:30 pm Friday, February 9th

In this keynote, Dr. Abdo explores the importance of telling, collecting, and sharing the stories of people on the move – refugees. Seeking safety and security, refugees embark on journeys that force them to leave homes they loved and, if they are lucky, eventually resettle in new lands. As we listen to these stories, Dr. Abdo will invite us to reflect on and share the places that mark our journey, and the moments that have moved us and made us move.

Panel speakers

 Boaz Avraham-Katz P'12

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Boaz Katz has lived on four continents so far. He spent part his childhood in Germany, lived in Israel for 22 years, South Africa for 6, and has been in the United States since 2001.


He received his BA & MA in Jewish Studies and his Certificate in Holocaust and Genocide studies from Gratz College and his MA in Applied Arts and Science from UNC - Greensboro. He has been teaching at Elon since 2015 and is the Jewish Educator at Elon Jewish Life since 2021.  He teaches Hebrew and several courses with a Jewish Studies emphasis that include Falafel Nation (an Israel Studies course) and Yiddish.


One of his favorite things is to incorporate food into his classes and introduce students to the intersection of food and culture. His Holocaust research was focused on Jews and the Holocaust in North Africa focusing on Libyan, Tunisian and Moroccan Jewry.

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Carrie Siegler

Carrie Seigler is a PhD candidate in sociology at Princeton University. Her work examines gendered inequalities and sexual violence within Protestant Christian communities. Carrie's research is deeply informed by her three years as the Multifaith Coordinator at Elon's Truitt Center for Religious and Spiritual Life.


Having spent the past five years of graduate school researching religion, Carrie is excited to return to her roots and personally engage with the lived experiences of others.

Priya Amaresh

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Priya Amaresh has been serving as the Hindu Chaplain at Duke University since 2020. In the role of Hindu chaplain, she works with students and staff at the University as a spiritual mentor and a guide for practicing Sanathana Dharma, the path of eternal truths, today referred to as Hindu Culture.


Priya earned a Bachelor’s & Master's in Education from the University of Michigan and taught in elementary and middle school for over 15 years in various subjects. Priya has also been an avid Hatha Yoga instructor since 2015, conducting yoga and meditation classes in various settings such as schools, healthcare centers, senior community centers, and corporate offices, and at the University.


Priya grew up in Michigan during the 1980’s in a spiritually and culturally rich home, where Hindu traditions were ingrained. She considers herself a lifelong learner of all that is inspiring, an enthusiast for multicultures, community building, and a passion for finding spiritual connections! 

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