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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Noted coach Luma Mufleh to speak at Reitz

Luma Mufleh left a priveleged life in Jordan to coach a children's soccer team in Georgia.

She coaches the Fugees, a 5-year-old nonprofit organization that brings together child surivors of war from 24 countries around the world.

Mufleh, a key character in this year's Common Reading Program book, Warren St. John's "Outcasts United," will talk about her experiences Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the Reitz Union Grand Ballroom.

UF freshmen were expected to read the book.

She will talk about how the Fugees Family idea came about, her inspirations from the refugee children and the idea for initiating the soccer team. She has since received awards for her service, like the Martin Luther King Jr. award.

The book shares the story of refugee war children from Liberia, Congo, Sudan and Iraq who come to find home in Clarkston, Ga. The story tells of their struggles and challenges while trying to build a new life.

Ashley Pennington, outreach coordinator for the Office of Sustainability, said the office partnered with the reading program because it shows social sustainability.

"Mufleh turns around something that's confusing and scary, kind of like a motley crew of kids around the world, and brings them together around something fun," Pennington said. "Soccer serves as a cultural barrier that bridges the differences in language and background."

Telecommunication freshman Arielle Schreier, 18, read "Outcasts United" and enjoyed listening to St. John's detailed account.

"It was a cool story about how the refugee kids and the soccer team started off as nothing and became something," Schreier said. "It was a classic underdog story."

The Common Reading Program and the Office of Sustainability are hosting the event.

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