This year’s Currier Lecture focused on “Voices of Today’s Refugees” and featured speakers from the Community Refugee and Immigration Services agency. Accompanying CRIS Executive Director Angela Plummer were former refugees and current CRIS employees Tara Dhungana and Sowdo Mohamud, who both shared their stories during special in-school assemblies and in an evening public presentation.

“Almost every refugee has a painful story,” said Sowdo, who had to flee Somalia after her groundbreaking work as a sports journalist made her and her colleagues targets for extremists. “I feel very lucky because now that I’m an American citizen, I can travel to see my family whenever I want.”

After being forced from Bhutan, Tara spent 20 years in a refugee camp in Nepal. “The conditions were miserable,” stated Tara, who also recently became a U.S. citizen. “Every day I dreamed of being welcomed to a place where I could make a home.” In addition to helping displaced families as a program manager for CRIS, Tara owns and operates Himalayan Grille in Gahanna’s Stoneridge Plaza.

The lecture series was founded in memory of Phil Currier, former head of Academy’s Upper School, whose zest for life overshadowed his untimely death in 1995. Its mission is to bring to Columbus Academy speakers whose lives and experiences exhibit self-challenge, provoke thought and are agents of positive change.