Out of Afghanistan – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Out of Afghanistan

Zahra Arabzada ’19 returns to campus to discuss being a refugee while helping her family navigate immigration processes and exile.

Recent graduate Zahra Arabzada ’19 will offer a public talk about refugee escape, diaspora and exile from Afghanistan to the United States, Germany and elsewhere at 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 21 in the Sanford Room. She will draw from personal experience, telling the stories of the harrowing journeys of 31 family members and friends who were forced to leave Afghanistan once it fell to Taliban control in August 2021. Arabzada will also discuss how she and her family navigated the immigration systems of the different countries that resettled them.

The following day, on Feb. 22, she will offer a workshop at 5 p.m. in the Blackwell Room. During the workshop, Arabzada will facilitate a discussion for those who wish to learn more about the emigration and immigration processes that she encountered while helping to resettle her family members.

In returning to campus, Arabzada says she hopes to share an understanding of Afghan refugees as assets to the U.S. and other countries where they resettle, the impact the new Afghan government has on the lives of Afghan women, as well as efforts that can create opportunities for underrepresented communities in Afghanistan.

As a student, Arabzada was a biochemistry major, participated in several Centennial Center programs and other campus events to help educate the community about her life growing up in a refugee camp in Iran and about Islam. She participated in NASA program where she and her teammates built a rocket payload, which was launched into space and successfully gathered data. She has received multiple awards such as Glamour Magazine Top 10 College Women of the Year and was featured in Health Magazine.  

The event is sponsored by the Young Memorial Trust and the Departments of Anthropology, International Relations, Asian Studies and Religious Studies. For questions about the events, contact Associate Professor of Anthropology Chris Annear at annear@hws.edu