Komeeda: The Power of Food Diaspora Dinners that Begin a Conversation

Diaspora Dinners are a starting point to invite guests to the table to taste and engage with a culture.They are about creating a space where people are encouraged to think more broadly about the experiences of diasporic communities through the foods they cook and eat every day, hopefully leaving with a better understanding of the lives they’ve tasted on the plate.

NEXUS has been thrilled to work with Komeeda, an organization that brings people together through food. At NEXUS, that is an easy mission to get behind and were thrilled to have Komeeda join us to create delicious vegan meals during our 2018 Global Summit. Since then, NEXUS x Komeeda teamed up to host a displaced dinner around mental health awareness. For that salon, we were honored to have Komeeda Chefugee Paiman Salih prepare a traditional Iraqi meal with us and share her experience dealing with mental trauma from the US invasion of Iraq, followed by the subsequent horrors of ISIS taking over her home town of Mosul to her triumph in becoming a Fulbright and fulfill her dream of studying in the States.

Each course of the dinner shared a story of Iraq; it’s origins and most recently, the difficulties its people have been through. We must be specific and contextual when discussing cuisines and representations of food. There is so much history and culture inextricably linked to food that is often conflated, misrepresented, and outright misunderstood. We all must be more responsible when discussing food.

The Diaspora Dinners are not setting out to be the authoritative voice on cuisine. That is impossible for anyone to do. What it hopes to do is open the gateway, so that peoples’ ability to talk about food may be improved. What Komeeda hopes to do is allow food, in this case Iraqi food, to be what it is: complex, rich in history, an amalgamation of various cultures and of course, delicious. Food has a power to bring people together in times of celebration, mourning and healing. It brings family closer and makes acquaintances out of strangers.

NEXUS is thrilled to partner with Komeeda to further their mission of bringing people together to break bread, share new cultures and traditions and see if we can heal divides.

To learn more about Komeeda and their displaced dinners and hire they for your next event, visit: Komeeda.com

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