January 15, 2024 All Events

Freshta Tori Jan to Deliver Michael Lester Wendt Character Lecture

March 25, 2024 - March 25, 2024 Add Event To Calendar
7:00 p.m.
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Freshta Tori Jan, a political asylee from Kabul, Afghanistan, will deliver the Spring 2024 Michael Lester Wendt Character Lecture at 7:00 p.m. Monday, March 25, 2024, in John and Alice Butler Hall, Heritage Center at the University of Dubuque. The lecture, titled "Truth Beyond the Mountains," is free and open to the public. No tickets are required.

From a young age, Tori Jan and her family faced insecurity and were the targets of ethnic cleansing. Being Hazara, a minority ethnic group in Afghanistan, as well as a Shia Muslim and part of the religious minority, she was never accepted within her home country. At just four years old, Tori Jan moved from her hometown of Herat to the capital of Afghanistan, Kabul, to flee the Taliban. Then she had to change schools within Kabul to escape intense bullying and abuse based on her ethnicity, religion, and gender. Finally, as death threats to her family escalated and attacks on her school caused it to shut down, Tori Jan's family fled to India, where they endured unemployment exacerbated by the language barrier, terrible poverty, food insecurity, and critical health challenges. Throughout these desperate times, Tori Jan stayed true to her character, practicing integrity and prioritizing kindness and respect.

Determined to make an impact and change the world, Tori Jan never gave up on her education and earned the opportunity to attend a high school in the United States. She spoke out and advocated there for those she left behind in Afghanistan. Now, as the founder of Hazara Advocates USA, an advocacy page to spread awareness of the Hazara Genocide in Afghanistan, and author of the young readers book, Courage: My Story of Persecution, Tori Jan tells her stories and spreads her passion for peace across the globe.

The lecture is presented by UD's Wendt Character Initiative as part of its mission to promote a campus culture of excellent moral character and purposeful lives. Guest lecturers in the fall and spring speak from lives of purpose, linking issues of the day to character virtues such as integrity, justice, and compassion.

For more information, please contact the Wendt Character Initiative at 563.589.3440 or Wendt@dbq.edu.