Carnegie Mellon University

Khūrākī: A Celebration of Afghanistan in Pittsburgh

CAS Speakers Series

February 15 & 17, 2022

Two Events About Afghan Refugees

Khūrākī: A Celebration of Afghanistan in Pittsburgh
Lives Uprooted: A Panel on the Transition in Afghanistan

When the United States withdrew military forces from Afghanistan in August 2021, Pittsburgh was chosen to be one of 19 American cities to welcome Afghan refugee families. The transition to America, although welcome to most, was not without an adjustment period – especially for female refugees. 

Khūrākī: A Celebration of Afghanistan in Pittsburgh

Performance - Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022, 5 p.m. 
Rangos Ballroom of the Cohon University Center (and Live Streamed)

Developed before the U.S. withdrawal, “Khūrākī: A Celebration of Afghanistan in Pittsburgh” is a snapshot of a moment in time (2019) when Afghan refugees still held out some hope that there was possibility for them to return home. The interactive theater experience will be highlighted by Afghan food and music.

The performance also benefits Afghan women in a new foodservice venture. To that end, 75 chilled Afghan meals for viewers of the livestream may be picked up at noon at the Center for Student Diversity & Inclusion in A75 of the CUC on a first-come, first-served basis. Hot meals also will be available for pickup for the live audience after the performance. The cooks, some of whom are also subjects of the play, will be there to greet audience members after the show.

Lives Uprooted: A Panel on the Transition in Afghanistan

Thursday, February 17, 2022, 5 p.m. 
Tepper Building, Room 4242 (and Live Streamed)

This discussion, moderated by Ethan Pullman from the CMU Libraries, will focus on Afghan resettlement in the Pittsburgh area. The panel features Ivonne Smith-Tapia, the director of Refugee and Immigrant Services at Jewish Family and Community Services of Pittsburgh; Sohrab Bakhshi, contractor for the U.S. Military and former Afghan refugee, who personally experienced the transition when he was brought to the U.S. under a Special Immigrant Visa; and historian Emanuela Grama, associate professor and director of Global Studies at CMU, who will discuss dislocation and its related side effects.

Khūrākī” was created by Pittsburgh production company RealTime Interventions to “challenge Americans’ perceptions about Afghanistan while supporting a group of Afghan female refugees in their goal to start a collectively owned food business in Pittsburgh,” according to creator/writer Molly Rice. The production was a 2019 nominee for the Pittsburgh Mayor’s Award for Public Art.

The word Khūrākī in the Afghan language, Dari, means “eat” or “meal,” and that is an integral part of the performance, which features personal insights of five Afghan women. They treasure their homeland and heritage and, now, must immerse themselves in an American lifestyle.

Watch a recording of the panel



  • The Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion
  • The CMU History Department
  • The Department of Modern Languages
  • The College of Fine Arts’ Office of the Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • The Institute for Politics and Strategy