Dobie Alum Set to Release Debut Book

Writing the narrative: Dobie alum set to release debut book
Posted on 08/14/2020
Writing the Narrative: Dobie Alum Set to Release Debut BookBy: Rebeca Lazo
Pasadena ISD Communication & Alumni Department

The Communication & Alumni Department would like to present a new series of stories dedicated to the many wonderful PISD alumni that continue to inspire us. Below you can find part two of the series: 

Ahmed M. Badr is living proof that no dream is ever too far from one’s reach.

Badr, a 22-year-old Dobie alum, has accomplished many things throughout his lifetime and the list continues to grow as his debut book, While the Earth Sleeps We Travel, is set to be released on October 13, 2020.

While the Earth Sleeps We Travel is a collection of poetry, personal narratives and art from multiple displaced youth who Badr met on trips to various countries.

Badr is an Iraqi refugee. In 2006, he escaped his Baghdad home with his family after it was attacked by militia troops. His family fled to Syria as refugees and in 2008 they set foot on American soil after receiving approval by a refugee resettlement program.

Assimilating to the U.S. was no easy accomplishment. Besides leaving behind extended family, friends and his homeland, he had to transition to his new life as a refugee living in America.

The Badr family started their journey to the U.S. in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and then relocated to the Houston area in Texas. It was then that Badr would get his first experience in an American high school, enrolling at Dobie.

Badr “unpacked” his experiences and expressed them through storytelling all while creating an avenue for others to do the same. As a junior at Dobie, he founded Narratio – a global platform that empowers youth to share their stories through different mediums.

“I think Dobie was a major place of development for me. Narratio started when I was at Dobie, and I had so many experiences there that prepared me for everything that has happened since then,” says Badr.

Since Narratio, Badr has not only been able to share his story as an Iraqi refugee, but also the stories of refugee youth all across the globe. Over the years, he has participated in various speaking engagements, including a TedTalk – Teen Edition where he rewrites his own narrative on the tragedy that haunted his home in Baghdad many years ago. He is also the co-founder of the multi-media installation, Unpacked: Refugee Baggage, which recreates the homes of refugees who have been greatly affected by the war in a series of suitcases.

His work doesn’t stop there. Badr is set to release his first book, While the Earth Sleeps We Travel, this year. Badr traveled to Greece, Trinidad & Tobago and New York where he held workshops for hundreds of youth living inside and outside of refugee camps who shared their untold stories.

“The book is really about uplifting the voices of displaced young people and giving them the opportunity to express themselves on the global stage...The book really wants to honor and celebrate those expressions,” says Badr. “It's not a book about individuals who are displaced. It’s about the creativity of those who have experienced displacement.”

While the book was a multi-year collaborative project that required many contributions from different workshops, Badr says that collecting the stories was not the challenging part of the journey.

“Figuring out the best way to do justice to these stories in a way that allows them to come together but also stand on their own was the challenge,” says Badr

Though the global pandemic is preventing Badr from reaching his audience outside of a screen, he plans to do a formal book tour once it is safe to do so.

“I want to reach as many individuals as possible and connect with local displaced communities in different cities,” he said.

A percentage of royalties from the book will be donated to organizations supporting programs for displaced youth across the globe. You can pre-order While the Earth Sleeps We Travel here.

If there’s a graduate you want to spotlight, please email [email protected].

Ahmed M. Badr would like to thank the following educators at Dobie High School for their constant support and investment in his ambitions.

In his words: “It’s important at that stage to have individuals who recognize the story you’re telling to feel validated in your journey.”

Kathy Eads, AP World History

Bob Daugherty, AP US History Teacher

Andrew Barrett, Head Coach, Speech and Debate

John Augillard, former Speech & Debate Coach

Chrystal Carrizal Limón, Pre-AP English Teacher

Chris Rojas, former AP Government Teacher

Tracy Whatley, AP Environmental Science Teacher

Jennifer Johnson, College Now Coordinator

Bernadette Marsh, former Counselor

Franklin Moses, Dobie Principal

Michael Van Essen, former Assistant Principal, current Principal at Dobie 9

Andy Kirkpatrick, former freshman Algebra Teacher

Nancy Schwab and Dendy Farrar, Librarians

Cheramie and Clinton Hopper, former Theatre Program directors

Rick Burford, Theater & Speech and Debate program

Ahmed Badr introduces the Narratio Fellows at their poetry performance at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Royal Assyrian Court, July 31st, 2019. 
Photo by Edward Grattan