Episode 23: The Duality of the Gift fo Coming to America

When Baktash Ahadi and his family fled Afghanistan in the early 1980’s they were shot at by Soviet Gunships on their way to Pakistan and sheltered at a refugee camp there for years while they awaited approval to emigrate to the U.S.


Soon after arriving in the small town of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Baktash worked hard to assimilate. He gave himself an American-style nickname and spent his childhood rejecting the parts of himself and his family that seemed too Afghan.

Until 9/11 when tensions between his birth country and his adopted country escalated and he found himself the only Afghan student at his college with a painful decision to make: Speak his truth as an Afghani-American and risk standing out or stay silent. The choice he made marked a turning point in his life. From there on out he embraced his birth country and his past as well as what it meant to him to be American. He joined the Peace Corps, became a combat interpreter in Afghanistan for three years, and now teaches American diplomats about Afghan culture and life for the State Department, intentionally bridging his two home countries, both of which he has gratitude for.

Baktash Ahadi explores, documents, and speaks on topics related to the human condition, such as: adaptability, conflict, identity, vulnerability, and transformation.

He is the creator and host of the Stories of Transformation podcast, where he speaks with individuals from around the world that share their unique stories about overcoming hardships, learning their craft, and finding their purpose.



I’m a writer, a teacher, a native New Yorker, and I love hearing about people’s lives. When I think back to my elementary school days at PS 20 in Flushing, Queens whenever we began social studies or a history lesson I wasn’t that interested in learning about battles, topography, or politics. What I wanted to know was how people lived: What their families were like, how they adapted to their circumstances, what they ate, how they celebrated, how they felt.
Sociology became my major at Binghamton University and in my life so far I’ve been an actress, a salesperson, a Zoo Keeper’s Aid, a volunteer animal trainer, an ELL teacher, a mother, and a wife. I’m grateful for the experiences I’ve had, all of which led me to create this podcast which is one of the most rewarding projects I’ve undertaken. I couldn’t ask for a better job than having in-depth conversations with survivors, thought leaders, authors, social justice warriors, and people who believe that we are all connected and then getting to share their stories, insight, and vulnerability with listeners.
I’m so glad you’ve landed on this page. I hope you find stories here which resonate with you and that you’ll tune in every week. 
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on reddit
Share on google
ATEC (Episode 10) (ATEC Pin 3)