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Diya Abdo

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Diya Abdo, Ph.D. is an associate professor of English at Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina; she is also the founder and current director of Every Campus a Refuge, a movement aimed at institutions of higher learning to mobilize their resources in response to the global refugee crisis.[1]

Personal Life & Education[edit]

Diya was born in Amman, Jordan to Palestinian refugee parents[1][2]. In 1996, Diya graduated from Yarmouk University with a Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature, she later got her Master of Arts in 1998, and Doctor of Philosophy in 2005 from Drew University in Madison, New Jersey[1]. She currently resides with her family in Greensboro, North Carolina[1]. Diya is a North Carolina writer, and is a member of the Modern Language Association (MLA), the Association for Middle East Women's Studies (AMEWS), and the National Women's Studies Assocation (NWSA).[3]

Every Campus a Refuge[edit]

Diya founded Every Campus a Refuge after being inspired by Pope Francis and his message for each parish to host a refugee family[2][4]. She recognized that university and college campuses, like parishes, have everything necessary – housing, food, care, skills – to take in refugees and support them as they begin their lives in their new homes[2][4]. Like the Pope’s call, Diya’s initiative calls on every college and university in the world to partner with their local refugee resettlement agencies to house refugees on campus grounds and assist them in resettlement[5][6]. Within 18 months of its inception, Guilford College, a very small liberal arts college in the American South, partnered with one of Greensboro’s local refugee resettlement agencies Church World Service Greensboro and through this partnership[6][7]. Every Campus a Refuge at Guilford College alone has hosted more than 27 refugee through September, 2017 from Syria, Iraq, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo[8]. Diya's movement has spread to many other schools including Agnes Scott College in Georgia, Wake Forest University in North Carolina and many others[9][10][11]. Diya Abdo and Every Campus A Refuge won The Gulf South Summit’s 2017 Outstanding Service-Learning Collaboration in Higher Education Award[12][13][14] and Guilford College and Every Campus A Refuge won The Washington Center 2017 Civic Engagement Higher Education Award[15][16]

Selected Scholarship[edit]

Scholarly Articles:

“Don't Claim to ‘Speak for’ Algerian Women: Reading Djebar across Disciplinary Borders?” Co-author with Maria Bobroff. Approaches to Teaching the Works of Assia Djebar. MLA. Ed. Anne Donadey. 2017.[1]

“And Is It Impossible to Be Good Everywhere?” Love and Badness in America and the Arab World” Bad Girls of the Arab World. Eds. Rula Quawas, and Nadia Yaqub. Texas University Press. 2017.[1]

“Go Underground, Young Women: Writing Selves in Miral Al-Tahawy's The Tent.” JMEWS. Duke Press. Volume 13:2, July, 2017.[1]

“Islamic Feminism in a Western Classroom: Fatima Mernissi’s Powerful Model.” Special Issue of AMEWS E-Bulletin. March, 2016.[1]

“My Qarina, My Self: The Homoerotic as Islamic Feminism in Alifa Rifaat’s ‘My World of the Unknown.’” Special issue of The Journal of Lesbian Studies: Lesbians, Sexuality and Islam. Volume 16. Issue 4. Routledge. Fall 2012. 398-415.[1]

“Chameleonic Text: Peritextual Transformation in Fatima Mernissi’s Dreams of Trespass and Nisa' 'Ala Ajnihat Al-hilm” in Life Writing. Volume 7. Number 2. Routledge. August 2010. 175-194.[1]

“Textual Migration: Self-Translation and Translation of the Self in Leila Abouzeid’s Return to Childhood: The Memoir of a Modern Moroccan Woman and Ruju ‘Ila Tufula.” Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies. Volume 30. Issue 2. University of Nebraska Press. September 2009. 1-42.[1]

“How to be a Successful Double Agent: Displacement as Strategy in Fadia Faqir’s Pillars of Salt” in Arab Voices in Diaspora: Critical Perspectives on Anglophone Arab Literature ed. Layla Almaleh, part of Rodopi Press's Cross/Cultures: Readings in the Post/Colonial Literatures in English series. November, 2009. 237-270.[1]

“Redefining the Warring Self in Hanan Al-Shaykh’s The Story of Zahra and Frank McGuinness Carthaginians.” In Pacific Coast Philology, Journal of the PAMLA (Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association, the Western Regional Division of the MLA), Special Issue: Transoceanic Dialogues. Volume 42. Number 2. 2007. 217-237.[1]

“Sacred Frontiers: Looking for Fissures to Construct an Alternate Feminist Subjectivity” in Womanhood in Anglophone Literary Culture: Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Perspectives edited by Robin Hammerman, Cambridge Scholars Publishing. 2007. 269-308.[1]

“Narrating Little Fatima: A Picture is Worth 1001 Tales: ‘Multiple Critique’ in Fatima Mernissi’s Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood” in Image and Narrative, Issue 19: Autofiction and/in Image, November 2007.[1]

“Uncovering the Harem in the Classroom: Tania Kamal Eldin’s Covered: The Hejab in Cairo, Egypt and Hollywood Harems within the context of a course on Arab women writers.” Women’s Studies Quarterly. Volume XXX. Numbers 1 & 2. Spring/Summer 2002. 227-238.[1]

“The Emperor Jones: A Struggle for Individuality.” Eugene O’Neill Review. Volume 24. Nos. 1 & 2, Spring/Fall 2000. 28-42.[1]

Poetry and Fiction:

“Blad” (poem). American Journal of Poetry. July, 2017. Volume 3.[1]

“The Love Hoard” (short story; nominated for a Pushcart Prize). J Journal: New Writing on Justice. Fall 15. 2015.[1]

“Lariope” (poem). Storm Cellar. Summer. 2015. Volume IV, No.3. 29.[1]

Creative Non-Fiction:

“On Food and Other Weapons.” The Carolina Table: North Carolina Writers on Food. Ed. Randall Kenan. Eno Publishers, Hillsborough, NC. December, 2016.[1]

“Sayf.” 27 Views of Greensboro: The Gate City in Prose and Poetry. Eno Publishers. Hillsborough, NC. 2015.[1]

Public Essays:

“Reimagining the University in a Time of Crisis” Jadaliyya. September 28, 2015.[1]

“The Art of Posing.” Jadaliyya. June 9, 2015.[1]

“The Most Valuable Lesson from Steven Salaita’s Visit to Guilford College.” The Electronic Intifada, February, 5, 2015.[1]

“The Limits of Speaking on Catastrophe: Confessions of a Palestinian Teacher.” The Feminist Wire. September, 12, 2014.[1]

Book Reviews:

Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family’s Journey. Book Review. Friends Journal. May 2017.[1]

The Edinburgh Companion to the Arab Novel in English. Book Review. Studies in the Novel. Spring 2015 Issue (Vol. 47, No. 1).[1]


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 1.25 1.26 1.27 Diya Abdo, Ph.D. Guilford College, 2017.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Itkowitz, Colby. "What if every U.S. college campus offered to house a Syrian refugee family?" The Washington Post, 20 November 2015.
  3. “Diya Abdo.” Linkedin, 2017, www.linkedin.com/in/diya-abdo-5340035
  4. 4.0 4.1 "In Bid To Welcome Refugees, Campaign Hopes To Make 'Every Campus a Refuge'" All Things Considered. NPR, 26 Nov. 2015.
  5.  Henkel, Clayton. "Diya Abdo of Guilford College discusses the initiative ‘Every Campus a Refuge’ – an initiative to get college and university campuses to host refugee families." NC Policy Watch. N.p., 30 June 2017.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Newsom, John. "Q&A with Diya Abdo, founder of Every Campus a Refuge at Guilford College." News & Record, 22 May 2016.
  7. Husband, Katie. "Guilford College Ready to Help Syrian Refugees."Spectrum News. N.p., 15 Oct. 2015.
  8. Every Campus a Refuge. "Home"
  9. Humphreys, Rob. "Rollins Welcomes First Refugee Family." Rollins 360. Rollins University, 20 Sept. 2016.
  10. Hatch, Nathan. "A message from President Hatch." Inside WFU. Wake Forest University, 1 Dec. 2016.
  11.  Every Campus a Refuge. "List of Schools Interested in ECAR"
  12. "ECAR and Diya Abdo Honored with Award by Gulf South Summit ." Guilford College, 6 Jan. 2017.
  13. "Gulf South Summit." 2017 Award Winners . N.p., 2017
  14. Kniffin, Lori E.  (8 May 2017). "North Carolina Shines at the 2017 Gulf-South Summit". uncg.edu. Institute for Community and Economic Engagement (University of North Carolina at Greensboro). Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  15. 2017 Recipients . The Washington Center, 2017.
  16. Washington Center Honors Guilford College with Prestigious Civic Engagement Award . Guilford College, 14 Sept. 2017.

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