Marist School Hosted Luma Mufleh of "Outcasts United"
On Friday, September 6, 2019,Marist School hosted Ms. Luma Mufleh, the founder and director of Fugees Family, Inc. and subject of the book Outcasts United: An American Town, a Refugee Team, and One Woman’s Quest to Make a Difference by Warren St. John, for an all-school assembly.
Outcasts United was the summer reading choice for the entire Marist community—students, faculty, and staff—as part of the “On the Same Page” program, Marist’s new summer reading initiative. Ms. Mufleh spoke to the entire school community about her experiences as an immigrant who coached the Fugees soccer team and became deeply involved in the lives of refugees from multiple countries in Clarkston, Ga., a city just outside of Atlanta.
Ms. Mufleh recounted her personal journey from Jordan to the United States and how a wrong turn in Clarkston led her to where she is today, a social entrepreneur who is trying to redefine refugee education. She shared how starting and coaching the Fugees soccer team evolved into providing much-needed academic help for her soccer players to ultimately opening and leading two schools—one in Clarkston and one in Columbus, Ohio—with plans for expansion. Ms. Mufleh described how she is using education to create a sense of belonging for these children who have relocated to the United States from all over the world. Ms. Mufleh concluded her remarks by urging the Marist community to “always believe you can make the world a better, safer, kinder, more just, and welcoming place.”
Ms. Mufleh received a standing ovation before answering dozens of questions from students at the assembly. Afterwards, she spent additional time with students, faculty, and staff in a smaller setting where she continued to respond to questions and talk about her experiences, future plans, and how the Marist community can help.
The “On the Same Page” program provides the Marist School community with the opportunity to engage in an interdisciplinary conversation around a particular text. Aligned with the school’s mission, the Marist values of inclusiveness and hospitality, and the vision of Marist’s new Strategic Plan 2025 aiming to prepare students to lead and serve with compassion, integrity, and a sense of purpose, Outcasts United serves as a teaching tool for discussing the intricacies of today’s global environment. This experience will further educate the Marist community about world issues, helping to enhance the understanding of diverse perspectives. Through the example of the characters in the book, many themes emerge: immigration, refugee resettlement, local and global politics, cultural conflict and change, identity and intergenerational issues, biculturalism, creativity, sports, and community building. The cultural complexity of Clarkston and the story of the Fugees is providing the Marist community with the opportunity to discuss a range of issues facing the United States now and into the future.
In addition to the assembly with Ms. Mufleh on September 6, Marist School will alter its regular academic program on Tuesday, September 24 for a day devoted to discussing and interweaving Outcasts United and its themes into all subject areas. Students, faculty, and staff will take part in discussions and learning experiences focused on and inspired by the book.
Marist students will continue to explore ways to support and be in solidarity with migrants and refugees through the Share the Journey club, which is answering Pope Francis’ call to share a journey with all our neighbors, not only those who live near us, look like us, speak like us, or pray like us.
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