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Gulwali Passarlay — My Journey to Safety as a Child Refugee

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The Water Rats

328 Gray’s Inn Road, King’s Cross

London

WC1X 8BZ

United Kingdom

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In 2006, Gulwali Passarlay was sent away from his home in Afghanistan by his mother at the age of twelve to save his life. Smuggled into Iran, Gulwali began a twelve-month odyssey across Europe via Turkey, Greece, Italy and France; spending time in prisons, suffering hunger, cruelty, brutality and nearly drowning in a tiny boat on the Mediterranean. He finally arrived in the UK, no longer an innocent child, but by then still a boy of thirteen. Here in Britain, he was fostered, won a place at Manchester University, where he has recently graduated with a degree in Politics, and was chosen to carry the Olympic torch in 2012. Now a young man, he is intent on changing the world; undertaking his MPA at Coventry University, CTPSR in Global Diversity Governance.

He has told his story of life as a refugee in his autobiography: "The Lightless Sky: A Twelve-Year-Old Refugee's Harrowing Escape from Afghanistan and His Extraordinary Journey Across Half The World", on TV channels such as BBC, Al Jazeera, CNN, Channel 4 News, itv, Russia Today, in print media such as The Guardian, Time Magazine, The Independent, The Scotsman, and at events such as TEDx. Check out his interview with Russell Howard on YouTube.

Today, he continues to advocate for education, social justice, and to make a positive impact in the community, locally and abroad. Gulwali has a long history of campaigning and leadership roles, including President of the United Afghan Peace Movement, Chairperson of the Afghan Youth Movement, Patron of the Separated Child Foundation, Commissioner of The Children's Society, and Ambassador of various organisations including global children's charity Theirworld, and NHS Youth Forum. Gulwali has garnered the Distinguished Achievement Award (Student of the Year), Collaborative Leadership Award, and among others, the Manchester Leadership Gold Award. As a fervent advocate for many social justice issues and causes, Gulwali was nominated for the 2016 Nansen Refugee Award by the UNHCR.

The Lightless Sky is his gripping and often harrowing story; a tale of survival against all the odds; an extraordinary, and often terrifying, journey; shedding light on the murky world of the people smugglers – from puppet-masters to fixers. [†Published in hardback and paperback editions by Atlantic Books].

Writing the book meant revisiting deeply painful experiences.

Gulwali says, ‘I want people to at least consider my story and the stories of those I met along the way – and know what they have overcome and what they are running against. Many survive the journey only to live in poverty and discomfort at the fringes of society. Only a very few, like myself, found success in their adopted countries.’

Others say:

‘An extraordinary man – achieving against all odds’ – Jon Snow

‘For a remarkable, moving description of the refugee experience, read The Lightless Sky’ – Vince Cable

‘[A] powerful account of a year-long journey to Britain…As a call for Europe and Britain to do more for the world’s refugees the book is as powerful as that harrowing picture of the dead toddler on the beach.’ The Times

More information can be found at: gulwalipassarly.wordpress.com

Twitter: @GulwaliP

Members have free entry, whilst guests and other visitors can buy tickets for this event here [includes buffet with wine].

Annual membership £30 [annual student concessions £15]




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Date and Time

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The Water Rats

328 Gray’s Inn Road, King’s Cross

London

WC1X 8BZ

United Kingdom

View Map

Refund Policy

No Refunds

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