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Dirigo Speaks presents: Abdi Nor Iftin

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Bangor Public Library atrium

145 Harlow Street

Bangor, ME 04401

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What does it mean to be an American?

Immigrant, Mainer and newly minted author Abdi Nor Iftin will join Dirigo Speaks to share his journey of becoming American on August 9.

Iftin's book, "Call Me American," was released Tuesday June 19. After the presentation there will be time for discussion and booksigning. Books will be available for purchase at the event.

We encourage you to use the space provided in the RSVP form to share your questions and stories, which may be featured at the event.

Read more about Abdi Nor Iftin at the Bangor Daily News.




Growing up in Somalia, Abdi Nor Iftin was known as “Abdi American.” He fell in love with the United States from afar, teaching himself English by watching movies like 'The Terminator' and listening to Michael Jackson. He cheered the arrival of US Marines in Mogadishu, wore American clothes, and learned American dance moves. But when the radical Islamist group Al-Shabaab rose to power in 2006, Iftin’s celebration of Western culture made him a target. He turned to his language skills to make a living, sending secret dispatches from Somalia to NPR, and gaining a worldwide following through his broadcasts. Eventually, he was forced to flee Somalia to Kenya as a refugee.

In Kenya, Iftin had the incredible luck to win entrance to the US in an annual visa lottery. He risked his life in order to get the required documents from the US Embassy and made his escape as his fellow Somali refugees in Kenya were being attacked. Throughout, he shared stories from refugee life on the BBC World Service and “This American Life,” providing updates on his home, family, and status. Now a proud resident of Maine on the path to citizenship, Iftin shares his dramatic, deeply stirring story with audiences across the nation. From intimate glimpses into the immigrant experience to timely talks on refugee rights, Iftin encourages audiences to consider new perspectives and redefine their notions of what it means to be American.

Iftin was recently accepted to the University of Southern Maine, where he will be studying political science. He currently lives in Portland, Maine, where he works as an interpreter for Somali immigrants.


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Bangor Public Library atrium

145 Harlow Street

Bangor, ME 04401

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