The Wheeler Centre
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Writing in Exile: Roza Germian
‘As a Kurd, I was stateless until I became an Australian, and Australia is the only official home I have, because Kurdistan does not exist on a map.’
Journalist Roza Germian lived through war for most of her childhood. In 1991, when Germian was 10, she was one of more than one million Kurds who fled Saddam Hussein's Iraq following the Iraqi retaliation to the Kurdish uprising. With her family, she later found temporary refuge in Turkey, and then moved permanently to Brisbane at age 15, when her family gained humanitarian visas.
As a teenager, Germian learned English and then went on to gain two university degrees. She now works as the executive producer on SBS Radio's Kurdish programme, where her earliest experiences of terror, persecution and prejudice continue to inform her journalistic work.
At SBS, Germian has continued to highlight stories that concern the Kurdish community here and abroad, from the ISIS conflict to Kurds held in Australia's immigration detention system. Hosted by Sami Shah, the remarkable Germian shares her story and discusses her life and work.
Roza Germian was born in the second year of the eight year-long Iran-Iraq war, in the city of Kirkuk under the Baathist rule. The majority of Kirkuk’s population were of Kurdish background and regularly targeted by the Baathist regime. In 1991, during the first Gulf War, her family along with four million Kurdish people became refugees in Iran and Turkey. Roza’s family arrived in Australia in 1996, where she later studied journalism. Roza is now the Executive Producer for the SBS Radio Kurdish Program.
Sami Shah is a multi-award winning writer, comedian, and broadcaster. He’s been profiled in the New York Times, ABC’s Australian Story, BBC Radio 4, NPR, and appeared on QI with Stephen Fry and The Project.
Sami has been performing award-winning and highly acclaimed comedy for over a decade, and used his acerbic wit to address world affairs and social issues, in comedy clubs and even international platforms like TEDx.