Mawi Speaks, October 17, 2012
October 5th 2012 · 0 Comments
By Lisanne Divine
The desert, I remember. The shrieking hyenas, I remember…I remember playing soccer with rocks, and a strange man telling me and my brother Tewolde that we had to go on a trip and Tewolde refusing to go. The man took out a piece of gum and Tewolde happily traded it for his homeland…(Asegdom, 2001)
So begins this unforgettable true story of a young boy’s remarkable journey: from civil war in east Africa to a refugee camp in Sudan, to a childhood … an affluent American suburb, and eventually to a full-tuition scholarship at Harvard University. Following his father’s advise to ‘treat all people – even the most unsightly beetles – as though they were angels sent from heaven,’ Mawi overcomes the challenges of racial prejudice, language barriers, and financial disadvantage to build a fulfilling, successful life for himself in his new home. “Of Beetles and Angels: A Boy’s Remarkable Journey from Refugee Camp to Harvard” is at once a compelling survival story and an inspiring model for anyone hoping to experience the American Dream.
This story honors our local community and mirrors the experiences of the former refugees who call the Mohawk Valley home. The Mohawk Valley has welcomed over 14,000 refugees from over 30 different countries. We proudly embrace the diversity that we share. We are blessed with good neighbors and diverse populations with rich cultures, strong work ethic and ability to thrive in the face of adversary. We are many cultures and one community.
Join us in welcoming Mawi Asgedom to our community for the UNSPOKEN Conference. Mawi is our keynote speaker and will be sharing his remarkable story with us for this family friendly event on Wednesday October 17, 2012 at 7:00pm. (Doors open at 6:00pm). Tickets can be pre-purchased by going to www.iamunspoken.com or if seating is available at the door. Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for adults.
Mawi’s book “Of Beetles and Angels” has been embraced locally and is available through several school programs and in our local libraries. It is a “quiet honest drama of a family’s heartrending journey” (Booklist). It is “powerful and heartwarming…Our American dream stays alive in part because people like Mawi show up and believe in it” (Mary Pipher, author of Reviving Ophelia).
Mawi Asgedom has written eight books that are used in thousands of classrooms across North America, and spoken to over 1,000,000 students and educators in more than forty states. A nationally recognized educator, Mawi has trained leaders at The Harvard School of Education and numerous international conferences.
As a child, Mawi fled civil war in Ethiopia and survived a Sudanese refugee camp for three years. After being resettled in the United States, he overcame poverty, language barriers and personal tragedy to graduate from Harvard University, where he gave the Commencement address to an audience of 30,000.
Mawi’s bestselling memoir, “Of Beetles and Angels,” has been read as a one-book, one-community reading selection by thousands of schools and communities, including the cities of Philadelphia and Green Bay. His teen success guides, The Code, Win the Inner Battle, and Nothing is Impossible, have also been used in thousands of classrooms. Citing the impact of his work, The Illinois Association of Teachers of English named Mawi the 2006 Illinois Author of the Year.
A graduate of the Kellogg School of Management, Mawi has also inspired corporate audiences at Kraft, Chase, Aramark, Accenture and many other Fortune 500 companies (Asgedom, 2001).
Media outlets that have featured Mawi include:
The Oprah Winfrey Show,
“One of the Twenty Best Moments of Oprah’s Career”
ESSENCE, “One of the 40 Most Inspiring African-Americans”
Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, Seattle Times, Harvard Magazine, Ebony Magazine
To learn more about Mawi and purchase tickets go to www.iamunspoken.com.