1917848_187749699383_2958947_nIn 2009, Winona State University alumna Kim Schultz traveled to the Middle East to meet with Iraqi refugees, in the hopes of bringing their stories to America.

Instead Schultz brought back a story of her own, after falling in love in Syria with an Iraqi refugee named Omar. She tells this story in her book, “Three Days in Damascus” (Palewell Press), being released this November.

The story is “…an epic journey to safety; a story of culture, devastation, redemption and hope—a story that isn’t supposed to be a love story,” said Schultz.

Schultz hopes to use her story of international romance as a way to break down barriers in conversations about refugees and humanize the refugee crisis. She also wants to highlight those around the world in need of the basic necessities of life, such as food, education and safety.

Schultz cites WSU, especially its Theatre and Dance Department, as an essential part of helping her establish the tools needed to tell these stories.

“WSU prepared me by encouraging me to be myself, to use all my skills, to be creative in my life,” Schultz said. “The Theatre Department helped me to be brave, and Vivian Fusillo in particular encouraged me to be myself always and to believe in all my abilities. I would not be where I am today without her and her belief in me.”

Through her continuous advocating and the publishing of her book, Schultz hopes WSU students and alumni will gain more insight into the world outside of the U.S. borders.

“We are at a pivotal point I believe, with this election and with this refugee crisis,” Schultz said. “This moment will define who we are and what is important to us. I hope my book has a small part in pointing us in the right direction.”

For more information visit www.3daysindamascus.com or contact University Communications at 507-457-5024.