Anna Gailani left Iraq in the mid-1980s fleeing persecution from the country's leader Saddam Hussein and after more than a decade in Greece found herself settling in New Zealand.
The former refugee will tell this story when she visits Whanganui on September 7.
Gailani arrived in Greece as a refugee under the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and began the long process of seeking resettlement.
She worked odd jobs including interpreting for the UN refugee agency in Athens before being accepted by the University of Athens and completed a medical degree.
She began practising medicine but was still essentially stateless.
After the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 the Greek government began to deport Iraqi refugees so she escaped again and this time came to New Zealand.
In Whanganui Gailani will discuss her experiences of loss, discovery and the quest for a sense of safety and belonging.
She will also speak about the cultural challenges that Middle Eastern refugees and migrants encounter as they begin to find their way in a new and unknown place.
In New Zealand Gailani has worked at law firms, the Health and Disability Commission and an NGO that supports refugees with their resettlement.
She has completed a postgraduate degree in translation studies from the University of Auckland and finished a masters in creative writing from AUT.
Recently Gailani launched Mideast Modern, a multi-purpose agency supporting refugees and migrants in New Zealand.
*Anna Gailani is speaking 5.30pm on Friday, September 7 at the Whanganui Museum's Davis Theatre.