The reception of newcomers by long-time Mainers

1:30 pm, Diamond 145

  • The reception of Somalis in 21st-century Lewiston: Zamzam Mohamud, community activist
  • The reception of Francos in 19th- and early 20th-century Lewiston-Auburn: James Myall, Freeport Historical Society
  • Educating long-time Mainers: Anne Sibley O’Brien, author/illustrator and educator
  • moderator: Dan Shea, Colby College Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement

MohamudZamzam Mohamud lives in Lewiston and works at Central Maine Medical Center. She was born in Somalia and moved to Kenya when she was 14 because of the war in Somalia. She stayed in Kenya with her two kids until 2000, when the journey of coming to America started. She serves on various boards: Lewiston Public Library, Community Clinical Services affiliated with St. Mary’s Hospital, the Forest Board, and Head Start. She is a past Lewiston School Board member and is now on the search committee for the new elementary school. She also interprets for local organizations like Home Health, the county jail, courthouse, police… She is very active in the Islamic Community in Lewiston-Auburn and her home is usually bustling with people, especially those who turn to her for help.

MyallJames Myall was Coordinator of the Franco-American Collection at the University of Southern Maine for four years, until 2014.  During that time, he worked to preserve and promote the history and heritage of Maine’s Franco-American population.  He is currently Executive Director of the Freeport Historical Society.  As a result of his work at the Franco-American Collection, he has recently co-authored a book with Mary Rice-DeFosse of Bates College, The Franco-Americans of Lewiston-Auburn, chronicling the history of that community from the mid-19th century to the present day.

O'BrienAnne Sibley O’Brien is a children’s book creator who has illustrated 32 titles, including three about families new to Maine: Who Belongs Here? An American Story by Margy Burns Knight; Moon Watchers: Shirin’s Ramadan Miracle by Reza Jalali; and A Path of Stars, which she also wrote, about a Cambodian American family. Her upcoming picture book, I’m New Here, is about three immigrant children from Somalia, Guatemala and South Korea. She is the co-founder of I’m Your Neighbor Books (, an online searchable database of “new arrival” literature and activities to build community. She lives on Peaks Island.

Dan SheaDaniel M. Shea is Director of the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement and Professor of Government at Colby College.  He has published widely on topics related to American Government, including party politics, legislative dynamics, youth political engagement and civility in politics.


Comments are closed.