LEWISTON — Colby College anthropology professor, Catherine Besteman will be talking about her latest book, “Making Refuge: Somali Bantu Refugees and Lewiston, Maine,” at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 26, at the Lewiston Public Library, Tuesday.

The program will also include a conversation about the work between the author and two leaders from Lewiston’s Somali Bantu community, Muhidin Libah and Rilwan Osman. The event will conclude with a question-and-answer period along with a book sale and signing.

In 1987-88 Besteman conducted field work in southern Somalia, never imaging that her life might once again intersect, 20 years later and half a world away, with these same individuals and their children. In her new book, she follows the route of Somali Bantus from their homes in Somalia before the onset in 1991 of Somalia’s civil war, to their displacement in Kenyan refugee camps, to their relocation in cities across the United States, and finally to their settlement in Lewiston.

Her new story contains refrains from past waves of American and New England immigration and, once again, demonstrates the efforts of diverse people finding ways to live together and create community. Besteman’s account illuminates the contemporary debates about economic and moral responsibility, security and community that immigration provokes.

Besteman will be joined for this presentation by Libah and Osman. Libah is the executive director of the Somali Bantu Community of Maine and Osman serves as the executive director of Maine Immigrant and Refugee Services. Both of their organizations are based in Lewiston.

Copies of “Making Refuge” will be available for sale at the event and a book signing will follow the program. For more information, contact the LPL Adult and Teen Services desk at 207-513-3135 or [email protected]


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