“Stirring… makes a heartening call for open-armed empathy.” - Variety

Available Worldwide

Live Panel: Refugee Education in the USA and Beyond (Films THIS IS HOME: A REFUGEE STORY and MAYOR)

Wednesday May 5
8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. (Seattle time)

THIS IS HOME: A REFUGEE STORY Producer Lindsey Megrue
Lesley Bartlett, Professor University of Wisconsin-Madison
Vidur Chopra, Postdoctoral Fellow Columbia University Teachers College
Manar Marouf, Family Education Coordinator, International Rescue Committee

MAYOR Film Director David Osit
Karen Ross, Assistant Professor of Conflict Resolution, University of Massachusetts



• Winner of the Audience Award, World Cinema Documentary - Sundance Film Festival


How long would you need “to acclimate” if you started over with your family in a new country with a new language and new customs? This masterfully crafted documentary takes us into the fascinating day-to-day intimacy of the “re-education process” of four Syrian refugee families from their arrival in Baltimore, USA, through their eight-month journey to “self-sufficiency” from the assistance provided by the International Rescue Committee. Though movingly conveyed, the trauma they bring with them is not at the centerpiece of their at times difficult, at times humorous, struggle to adapt. A female IRC worker tells them (stretching out her hand): “In America we always shake hands.” To which one of the Syrian men replies (in Arabic, to his friend): “I can’t. It’s forbidden.” The relearning of cultural norms needed to adapt and survive in America tests their hard-won resilience. The kids too, must adapt and be well in their new school despite their nightmares (the school provides therapy support). This film offers us a bridge into the humanity of refugee families and, ultimately, reminds us of the power of friendship and community across cultural divides. The American dream is built from the ground up. Don’t miss it!

About the director

Alexandra Shiva is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and producer. Her film BOMBAY EUNUCH (2001) won several awards including Best Documentary at New York´s LGBT Film Festival. Her film HOW TO DANCE IN OHIO (2015) was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance.

You can rent (for free) the films again after your watch window for the rental ends.


Alexandra Shiva


United States

Bonus Content

Trailer Cinematic Spaces in Education Film Festivalette
3 mins

Trailer of the seventh edition of the CIES 2021 Education Film Festivalette.

Rural and Community Education Live Discussion Recording - THIS IS HOME