Inclusive Dialogue bringing renowned authors to Muscatine
by Margaret Hurlbert
May 02, 2022

MUSCATINE, Iowa–As part of their work to create a more peaceful and just world, the Stanley Center for Peace and Security provides opportunities for people to learn about the wider world and the issues facing people in different places. Since 2020, Global Education at the Stanley Center has brought authors from a variety of backgrounds to Muscatine to share outstanding works with the community. May 23, authors Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed will hold a pair of events inviting the community to learn more about their acclaimed young adult graphic novel “When Stars Are Scattered,” based on Mohamed’s childhood as a Somalian refugee in Kenya.

When Global Education Program Officer Krista Regennitter started looking for the next book to highlight through the Inclusive Dialogue series, teachers from Susan Clark Junior High School recommended “When Stars Are Scattered.” On the morning of May 23, the two authors will hold a special session at Susan Clark Junior High School for students, who have read the book as part of their English language arts classes. Students will moderate the session using questions they and their peers came up with beforehand. Jamieson will also lead them in a special drawing exercise.

At 6:30 p.m. at the Merrill Hotel (119 Mississippi Drive), the Stanley Center, in partnership with the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine and Muscatine Community College, will hold their public Inclusive Dialogue: Journey Through Uncertainty event. People who would prefer to attend virtually may do so. This is a free event, but everyone planning to come must register in advance online. The evening will begin with a moderated discussion with Jamieson and Mohamed followed by a question and answer session. Guests can then make their learning that evening more personal by completing a drawing exercise with Jamieson as well as participating in a guided conversation with everyone at their table. The event will also include a silent auction of some of Jamieson’s work, with all proceeds going to support the Diversity Service Center of Iowa, which has operated in Muscatine for over 20 years.

To get the most out of this installment in the Inclusive Dialogue series Regennitter encourages people to read “When Stars Are Scattered” prior to attending. Readers may purchase the book online or contact the circulation desk at Musser Public Library at 563-263-3065 to arrange to check it out.

An uncommonly good opportunity for Muscatine residents to glimpse into the life of a refugee who later resettled in the United States, organizers from the Stanley Center, Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine, and Muscatine Community College hope many people will take advantage of it.

“Students and adults alike will enjoy learning through the immersive storyline of the book and the lived experiences of the author,” shared Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine Executive Director Charla Schafer.

“This event will provide a window into the refugee experience, from one person’s perspective, hopefully expanding participants’ understanding of the complex impacts of conflict and migration and how global events have ripple effects around the world,” said Regennitter.

Because of Muscatine’s diverse population, Muscatine Community College President Naomi DeWinter believes the event will better help people understand the experiences of some of their neighbors and friends. “Muscatine has community members who have similar experiences to Omar’s,” DeWinter observed. “We hope that learning about Omar’s story will inspire our community to be curious about our neighbors’ stories.”

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