Community members to share their immigration stories


In Endless Waiting Rooms

As a historian, Professor Rebecca Friedman teaches courses on the wars and revolutions of Europe in 20th century. As the daughter and granddaughter of immigrants, she has personal insight on how some of these monumental events in modern history impacted families who found themselves fleeing violence and poverty.

“My grandparents are from Poland. My mom is from present-day Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia. They are all Holocaust survivors,” said Friedman, who is also the director of the European Studies Program. “I grew up hearing stories about leaving places, moving to new places and having to assimilate. Their story is very much like that of a lot of people who have had to immigrate to Miami from all over the world.”

Friedman, alongside Julie Maykowski from the Florida Grand Opera, will introduce a number of guest speakers at the “In endless waiting rooms: Our Stories” event Sunday, March 29, in the Balcony Theatre at the Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables, Fla.

The speakers, including a Holocaust survivor, will offer personal reflections on the experience of leaving home and immigrating to a strange, new land. Some fled wars, genocide or political repression and moved to Miami where they have embraced the challenges and hopes found in the city’s landscape. Punctuated by music from the Florida Grand Opera’s upcoming production of Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Consul, this program will take the audience on a journey from Europe to Cuba to Haiti and to the Middle East.

The event is scheduled for 3 p.m. It is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. To RSVP, click here.

“As a public research university, it’s part of our core mission to understand and serve the community in which we work and live in,” Friedman said. “This event will allow us to hear the voices of the diverse Miami landscape. I hope the audience walks away with a better understanding of the diversity of experiences that all come together and make Miami what it is.”

This event is organized by the Florida Grand Opera and the European Studies Program and Václav Havel Initiative for Human Rights and Diplomacy in the School of International and Public Affairs at FIU. The organizers would like to acknowledge the College of Architecture + The Arts, Cuban Research Institute and Latin American and Caribbean Center for their invaluable help. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts and a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

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