An Aerial view of Dadaab Refugee Camp. Photo: Andy Hall/Oxfam

The Epic Odyssey of a Stateless Refugee Family’s Quest to Find a Home

On the podcast today is Ty McCormick, author of the new book Beyond the Sand and Sea: One Family’s Quest for a Country to Call Home

The book tells the story of Asad Hussein who was born in a refugee camp in Kenya after his parents fled conflict in neighboring Somalia. Asad was born into extreme poverty and was effectively stateless.

Asad is a very intelligent and driven individual. As a teenager he was a voracious reader who gravitated towards the works of immigrants in the United States. He is also an excellent writer who first garnered international attention when he began publishing in western outlets like the New York Times.

Ty McCormick was an editor for Foreign Policy magazine living in Kenya when he first met Asad, assigning him to write a story.  They formed a deep friendship and as he learned details of Asad’s life, Ty McCormick felt compelled to tell the story of his family’s quest to make it to the United States.

Asad’s parents and sister were resettled to the United States as refugees. Asad, however, now lives in the United States on a student visa having won a scholarship to Princeton University.  Beyond the Sand and Sea  tells a powerful story about one individual’s perseverance, the pernicious impact of Trump’s Muslim Ban and how statelessness can shackle someone’s hopes and dreams.


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