Award-winning foreign correspondent and author Atia Abawi visited USM on Monday, Oct. 11, for a full day of meetings with Upper School students. This is the third year in a row Abawi has visited USM (last year’s visit was virtual), and the third year that her book, “A Land of Permanent Goodbyes,” was the assigned summer reading for 9th grade students.
Abawi spoke to students in USM’s Global Scholars program in the morning, and also met with them during lunch, where she discussed current events in Afghanistan and efforts to help refugees who have fled the country. She also met with students taking the Digital Journalism class taught by Kat Zilka, Upper School English teacher, to discuss her career as a journalist and author. She concluded her visit by meeting with 9th grade students to discuss “A Land of Permanent Goodbyes,” which is about refugees escaping from war-torn Syria. Abawi spoke to students about her experience as a journalist, and how her books—although fiction—are based on real-life stories and interviews with refugees and individuals who work with refugees.
Abawi’s visit was supported in part by the Global Scholars/Crisis Simulation fund, provided in recent years by a small group of parents, parents of alumni, and alumni, resulting in a matching grant from the Edward E. Ford Foundation. Her visit was coordinated by Laura Klein, Upper School librarian.