MUS Hosts Refugee Advocate Mufleh

Author and entrepreneur Luma Mufleh spoke in chapel April 26 about the journey from her beginnings as the daughter of Syrian refugees; to seeking asylum in the United States; to coaching refugee children in soccer; to starting a tutoring program for them; to founding the Fugees Family network dedicated to refugee education.
Mufleh, invited to campus by Director of Hyde Library Wendy Trenthem, was the subject of the book “Outcasts United” (the 2023 Owls Read book selection), and she authored “Learning America: One Woman’s Fight for Educational Justice for Refugee Children” and “From Here.”

She knows firsthand the struggles of trying to make it in a foreign country, and her experience has helped many others. Seventeen years after founding her first school, she has seen the fruits of her efforts.
“I’ve gotten to see a whole generation of Fugees grow up and get into their dream universities and even coach their own soccer teams,” she said.

Saying detours and rejections prepared her for “a greater purpose,” she encouraged students to be open to different definitions of success.

“The parts of yourself that you think aren’t good enough now might be pointing you to your greatest successes. The reasons you feel like you may never fit in might be the reasons you find your best friends. Don’t write people off just because you think you have nothing in common. When you fail, try again. Try again when you experience rejection or try something different,” she said.

“If you see an injustice, do something. Look for small things you can do to make someone feel welcome. Remember, success, love, belonging, and purpose sometimes come when we least expect them. You might find them in the last place you ever thought to look or on your way home from the grocery store.”

After her talk Mufleh met with students in Hyde Library and signed books and bookmarks. Director of the Memphis Refugee Empowerment Program Camela Echols joined one of her volunteers, Ari Thiyagarajaa ’26, as a special guest for the presentation.

Find the photo gallery HERE