Stina Kielsmeier-Cook has more than 12 years of experience working with refugee communities and has a graduate degree in Forced Migration and Refugee Studies from the American University in Cairo. She lives in Minneapolis where she blogs at and tweets @stina_kc.


Posts By This Author

Longing for Resettlement

by Stina Kielsmeier-Cook 02-23-2017
The Psychological Impact of Banning Refugees

Dadaab refugee camp. Image via Bjørn Heidenstrøm/Flickr.

In Dadaab refugee camp, a researcher recorded a Somali term for the particular feeling of longing for resettlement: buufis, “a kind of depression rooted in an inextinguishable hope for a life elsewhere that simultaneously casts the present into shadow.”

I Used to Screen Somali Refugees. Here's Why Trump's Latest Statements Are Wrong.

by Stina Kielsmeier-Cook 11-07-2016

Image via /

For years after my experience working with UNHCR, I struggled with secondary trauma, with the heavy weight of so many terrible stories swirling in my mind, causing flashbacks, numbness, and anger. As UNHCR resettlement worker, I made decisions about the lives of war survivors and afterward I couldn’t shake the weight of power I wielded in that tiny interview room. But simply being a neighbor, a person who returns wrongly delivered mail and waves from across our picket fence, a person who delivers cookies at Christmas time and receives piping hot sambusas in return, has been healing for me. I count it as one of my life’s greatest joys to live next door to my Somali neighbors.