Scholar of Global Distinction Student and Educator Program: “Unsettling Borders and Boundaries through Refugee Stories: Midnight Traveler and an Afghan Family’s Journey to Europe” with Banu Gökariksel (UNC) (virtual)


This is a tailored offering for community college students and educators at NC Scholar of Global Distinction campuses. The program is planned and administered by the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies and UNC World View, with support from UNC faculty. In its inaugural year, this program will explore Middle Eastern refugee and immigrant experiences in partnership with Banu Gökariksel, UNC professor of geography and newly appointed chair of the curriculum in global studies. Scholar of Global Distinction students who complete the following 3 parts of the offering will have an opportunity to earn 4 hours towards the 8-hour international activity requirement of the Scholar of Global Distinction program. More information available at


Part I: (1.5 hours) – Watch the 90-minute documentary Midnight Traveler. **Film available for viewing starting Monday, February 7 through Thursday, February 17 2022**


Part II: (1 hour) – Answer the following discussion questions about Midnight Traveler. Please use THIS FORM when turning in your responses to your global distinction liaison.


Part III: (1.5 hours): Attend and engage with UNC Professor Banu Gökarıksel in a virtual, live, discussion. Submit a 250-word reflection summarizing what you learned from the discussion to your Scholar of Global Distinction liaison by March 15, 2022. Please use THIS FORM when turning in your responses to your global distinction liaison.




Following the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan in the summer of 2021, thousands of Afghans left the country in search of asylum. Many of these Afghans have faced challenges, including negative representations of refugees as victims or threats, reinforced national borders, increasingly restrictive procedures for asylum-seekers, and new technologies that keep them waiting in uncertainty. This discussion for scholar of global distinction students will question the dehumanizing effects of the representation of refugees and current border systems with a focus on Afghan refugees. Featuring refugee experiences and stories to understand the political spaces and identities of asylum-seekers, the session will focus on the award-winning documentary film Midnight Traveler (released in 2019). Our discussion will contextualize this documentary within a broader history of Afghanistan, the US-led war in this country, and the limitations of the global asylum system.

Professor Gökariksel is The Caroline H. and Thomas S. Royster Distinguished Professor for Graduate Education at The Graduate School at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Professor Göokariksel has a joint appointment in the Curriculum in Global Studies and is adjunct appointment in Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies at Duke University. She is also the newly appointed chair of the UNC Curriculum in Global Studies. She served as the co-editor of the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies from 2014-2018.


Sponsored by the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies and UNC World View.


UNC Chapel Hill