Website explores refugee experience in Vermont

The Vermont Folklife Center in Middlebury unveiled its"New Neighbors: Bosnia," the first in a series of websites dedicated to the experiences of refugees resettled in Vermont.

The goal of the New Neighbors project is to build public awareness and understanding of Vermont's growing refugee communities, and to bring people together across cultural and linguistic differences in a spirit of mutuality and exchange.

"New Neighbor..." presents the stories of people who were uprooted by war in former Yugoslavia and have come to Vermont to start new lives.

The site features their reflections on their ancestral homeland, the trauma of war, their experiences as refugees, the resettlement process, Bosnian culture in Vermont, and their perspectives on building new lives here.

The website includes research-generated materials from the Vermont Folklife Center Archive, new pieces by filmmaker Mira Niagolova and videographer Paul MacGowan, and photographic images and text created by photographer/ethnographer Ned Castle, as well as an education section and links to online resources.

"New Neighbors: Bosnia" was created in partnership with the Vermont Humanities Council's Vermont Reads 2010 program as a means to deepen readers' engagement with this year's selection, Katherine Paterson's Day of the Pelican, by connecting the book to the lived experience of Vermonters who were resettled here as a result of the Balkan War.

Check It Out: "New Neighbors: Bosnia" at www.vermontfolklifecenter.org\Neighbors/.

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