Preview of World Refugee Day in Boise: 'I Find Boise an Amazing and Peaceful City' 

click to enlarge NATHAN SCHNEIDER
  • Nathan Schneider
Nawid Mohammad Mousa will be doing a lot more than selling coffee at Boise’s Grove Plaza on Saturday, June 20. He will be manning a booth featuring products from his Kavhe Coffee Shop during Boise’s 2015 celebration of World Refugee Day. Mousa says spending a Saturday on the Grove will be a great opportunity for him to meet new customers and ultimately new neighbors.

“I find Boise an amazing and peaceful city,” Mousa told Boise Weekly

A native of Afghanistan, Mousa and his family relocated to Boise after living as refugees in Moscow, Russia. He’ll be one of scores of merchants, chefs, poets, and performers filling the Grove, representing nations ranging from Burma to Eritrea to Afghanistan to Bhutan. This year’s theme, “Extraordinary People Living through Extraordinary Times” honors over 5,000 individuals in the area as they celebrate both their homelands and their growing community in the city of Boise.

“We have people who will be dancing, singing, drumming, reciting poetry and speaking about the plight of refugees,” says Idaho Office of Refugees communications specialist, Kara Fink, of the upcoming event.

What began as a United Nations initiative in 2001, World Refugee Day has bloomed into a worldwide celebration that utilizes art and performance to bring a face to the international refugee community. This year marks the eighth anniversary that the city has teamed up with the Capital City Public Market to host the festivities downtown.

click to enlarge This year, 14 refugees from Afghanistan, Bhutan, Burma, Congo, Eritrea, Iraq, Rwanda, Thailand and the former USSR will become American citizens at World Refugee Day. - GEORGE PRENTICE
  • George Prentice
  • This year, 14 refugees from Afghanistan, Bhutan, Burma, Congo, Eritrea, Iraq, Rwanda, Thailand and the former USSR will become American citizens at World Refugee Day.
Certain to be a highlight will be the USCIS-led annual World Refugee Day Citizenship Ceremony. In this moving event, 15 refugees representing a diverse set of countries will become naturalized in the heart of the Grove.

Additionally, this year’s celebration will include a tangible representation of Boise’s global perspective. The Idaho Office for Refugees will be collaborating with the Boise Creative Center to construct an interactive mural, “serving as a way to gather more input for a future, more permanent refugee mural in the community,” according to Fink. Alex Vega, director of the creative center says the goal of the mural is to create a “wall that is covered with the energy of the event.”

“It’s the one day that I celebrate in a year more than any other,” said Fidel Nshombo, an accomplished poet and Northwest Representative of the UN Refugee Congress.

Both Nshombo and Mousa say they are particularly excited for being involved in Boise’s World Refugee Day festivities. Although Mousa has recently moved to the Seattle metro area, he remains an active member in the Boise community and continues to oversee his coffee shop, located at the Boise International Market

“Boise International Market offered a great opportunity for me and other vendors to start a small business in Boise,” says Mousa of his experience with the market. His coffee shop features flavors that aren’t your typical Starbucks order, listing Turkish coffee, Indian Masala Chai, Green Oolong Tea, and Baklava as some of his favorite items on the menu.

When asked why he believes Boise residents should go to World Refugee Day this year, he replied that, “I think as Boiseans and as a community in whole it is our responsibility to participate in such events.”


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