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What it feels like to be a refugee | Belma and Refik Sadikovic | TEDxBoise


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Aside from all the statistics and policy debates, the individual refugee experience is a deeply personal one. Bosnian refugees Refik and Belma Sadikovic share their stories here: two vastly different journeys fleeing war-torn Bosnia and ending in Boise, Idaho, where they later met. While many recent discussions of "the refugee situation" focus on the challenging early stages of resettlement--when refugees depend on services, resources and support--the Sadikovics' stories remind us what comes after refugees are settled in: becoming community assets serving new Americans and new communities.

Belma Sadikovic is an emerging scholar, passionate human rights activist, and advocate for refugees on a local and global scale. She is also the co-founder of Boise State’s Refugee Alliance. Today a doctoral candidate, Belma uses her experiences to teach her students and community about the struggles of refugees and ways to help refugees become self-sufficient. Belma’s a strong advocate for refugees obtaining an education. She believes that there is tremendous healing power and positive energy in providing opportunities for others.

In 2000, Refik was resettled as a refugee in Boise. He became a respected engineering technician at Micron, and was encouraged to pursue higher education. Refik now teaches at Boise State University, where he is a doctoral student. He co-founded the Boise State Refugee Alliance and advocates for refugee and human rights. Having improved his own life in the U.S., he works to help other refugees and minorities succeed academically and professionally.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at