A productive year of activism, advocacy & campaigning.

It has been a greatly insightful year of travelling, talks and contributions to panel discussions on the refugee crisis. Looking into finding ways of supporting and helping refugees and asylum seekers in the U.K.

I have had the opportunity to speak at over 100 events across Britain, Europe and the States during 2017.

One of the many highest of year, I was given the privilege and honour to deliver the Manchester Foundation Day lecture.

Refugee turned author and graduate speaks at University Foundation Day:



The Lightless Sky was selected as one of the book for Read Regional by New Writing North. Therefore, I was able to do a tour of the north of England, speaking at libraries, schools and festivals. It was certainly a wonderful opportunity to get visit towns across the region and meet some amazing people, doing brilliant work of welcoming refugees, showing compassion and solidarity in their local community.


If we Direct them to the Right Source, Refugees have Brilliant Ideas:


Global Awareness Lecture 2017: Bedales School



A shared Britain – refugee policy for 2017:


What Would You Do If Your Home Became A Warzone?


Afghan author urges people to welcome refugees:


Give refugees a chance and they will make impressive contributions…


A note to Gulwali Passarlay, author of the Lightless Sky.


International Youth Day. #YouthVoice #Health


Presenting Awards to scouts in Lancashire, celebrating their achievements and success.


With thanks to Big Issue North for featuring me on their weekly cover.


Speaking to educators in Sweden for the second time in Malmo, on how best to support ingratiation of UASC/refugees into education.


Gulwali Passarlay gave us a fascinating insight into the lives of so many refugees who go to enormous lengths to escape from whatever horrendous life awaits them if they stay put. Galley Club:


Understanding and Meeting the Needs of Refugee Children

Co-facilitated by Nola Ellen and Gulwali Passarlay:



Earlier this year we had the chance to speak with Gulwali Passarlay who came to the UK seeking asylum when he was just 13 years old. We spoke to him about his experiences as a young person seeking asylum in the UK, his achievements and his hopes for other young asylum seekers and refugees. We will let him introduce himself in his own words…






And the journey continues, looking forward to more active public engagements of events and talks to create awareness, inform public opinion and encourage a welcoming environment for refugees coming to Brexit Britain.


Articles, interviews for The Lightless Sky 

I had the pleasure of participating in the Read Regional Campaign run by New Writing North, who selected the Lightless Sky as part of the project. It was amazing travelling across the north and speaking at libraries and schools. 

Read Regional

From March to June each year, the annual Read Regional campaign celebrates selected new books from the North of England. At libraries and literary festivals across the North, authors take part in events where you can hear about their writing and talk to them about their work.




Afghan refugee brings his story to Hexham


Bolton graduate shortlisted for prestigious education award


Man who fled war torn Afghanistan takes to the stage to raise awareness of refugees


If we Direct them to the Right Source, Refugees have Brilliant Ideas


Author’s epic escape to freedom life story inspires Excelsior pupils


Passarlay’s book chronicles his journey as a young refugee


Book review: ‘The Lightless Sky’ tells modern-day refugee story


GULWALI PASSARLAY; Global Youth Ambassador, Theirworld



Author Gulwali Passarlay speaks about his journey as a refugee from Afghanistan to Britain, aged 12


Gulwali Passarlay: The Lightless Sky #refugees #afghanistan


Panel member for Olive Branch Fostering, An amazingly humble and rewarding experience. 


A share Britain, Refugee Policy for 2017.  

To start the year, Dr Jonathan Darling, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography specialising in the politics and ethics of forced migration, and Gulwali Passarlay, Afghan refugee, politics graduate and author of ‘The Lightless Sky’, reflect on how government might support asylum seekers and refugees in 2017. Together, they discuss the challenges of the last year and propose five ways that policy can respond over the coming year.


What Would You Do If Your Home Became A Warzone?


Plaque unveiled in the School to recognise the role of refugees across the country

Student Gulwali Passarlay is part of a high-profile campaign organised by The Joint Council For The Welfare Of Immigrants #IAmARefugee.


I am A refugee: 

Gulwali Passarlay was forced to flee his home in Afghanistan when he was just 12 years old. His debut book, The Lightless Sky, charts his perilous journey over land and sea to Britain, where he finally found safety. A tale of fortitude and friendship told through a child’s eyes, Gulwali’s story casts much needed light on the difficult decisions refugees are forced to take about who to trust and how to stay alive against a backdrop of political indifference.

Here, Gulwali writes exclusively for the Refugee Council about his experience of arriving in Britain as a child: bewildered, frightened and alone.

WATCH: Afghan author urges people to welcome refugees


Give refugees a chance and they will make impressive contributions…


A note to Gulwali Passarlay, author of the Lightless Sky.


Thank you to everyone for their support, encouragements and for reading The Lightless Sky. 

I look forward to more public speaking opportunities across the UK, which I certainly enjoy visiting place, meeting people, creating awareness about refugees and finding compassion ways to help and support but also encouraging solidarity and action. 

Public speaking engagements 

Events/talks/conference since the publication of the lightless sky, in just over a year or so. But have done even more interviews with mainstream media, TV, newspapers, radio, online etc. 
I have attended, participated and contributed to many literary festivals, libraries, schools and other panel discussion during my travelling across the U.K. Starting most recent 🙂 

Saffron Walden visit and talk at the Friend Meeting House 

Presenting Awards and giving presentation to Scouts in Lancashire 

Essa academy achievements evening 

Parliamentors alumnus networking 

SelfCareEverywhere Young people event Bradford NHS 

Patient leadership NHS conference London 

Asylum, Refugee conference Preston CoS 

Carlisle library talk 

The Radcyffle school, Oldham 

Malta visit, ESN, SSC 

Prime Mary school talk in Leicester 

Quakers event on awareness of refugee issues through art, London, during RW 

Salford university talk on asylum, refugees 

Bedford library visit/talk 

Darlington library talk as part of ReadRegional 

NHS, nursing conference in Exeter, talk the mental health challenges for Asylum seekers, the role school nurses plays 

Talk at Youth hub in Bristol to UASC 

Birmingham talk alongside Mrs Brown 

Gateshead library visit 

Stockton library talk 

Bridlington library/school 


JCORE fundraising event, on panel with Lord Dubs 

NUS conference Leeds, hosting and presenting awards to International Students 

Oxford fundraising event for Help Refugees 

CRMC AGM attendance, contribution 

Kent – KARN event in Canterbury 

Hereford, Quakers, Friend Meeting House 

Bern, Switzerland conference on Rights of children on the move 

Huddersfield library/school 

Panel discussion, participation at RSA on education in conflict zones 

Fostering panel interviewing potential Forster carers. 

School talk at Cheltenham 

Bradford library 

Chatham House 

Refugee Connection visit 

Coventry event 

Malta visit, meeting the President 

Standerland city library 

Newcastle city library talk 

Doncaster library 

Afghan emabssy event DC 

Talk at college in Rochester NY 

Glasgow festival talk 

Headingly library 

Leeds university 

Hexham library, festival 

NOMAD Trustee meeting

Oldham conference on racism 

Leeds NHS event 

Bury CoE School 

Warwick uni talk 

LSE STAR event 

APn awards 

British Education Award 

Missing Children Europe conference, Malta

Swedish educators talk, London 

Dunhurst school, Petersfield 

Their World, AWAS event 

Exeter school 

Walsall academy visit 

Talk at St Ethelbrge 

Greenwood event with Lord Dubs 

Havering college panel 

European Commission, Right of Child Forum speech, brussels 

NNECC event at UoWE on children in care 

Ship lake college talk, play 

UNA Chichester 

Oxfam schools event 

Nottingham uni 

Birmingham anti racism event 

Social work with Refugees talk, BSWA

Interfaith summit 3FF

STAR conference 

Royal society of art 

ASAUK event 

Nursing conference NHS Birmingham 

Humanitarian Congress Berlin 

Salisbury world event 

Calais visit 

Goldsmith college 

Newcastle Read Regional – NWN 

Wimbledon in conversation event 

TSCF visit 

Youthforia, YMPs, NW – Wigan 

Leicester festival 

Edinburgh book festival 

ParliaMentors talk in parliament 

IWM summer school 

Geneva UN visit 

York, UKYP Annual Siting

Chorley school, award evening 

Liverpool event 

Brodstaries CL talk 

The Mayfair event, charity fundraising 

South bank festival 

Raynes park event 

Leicester school visit 

Wasted library/school 

Oxford fundraising 

Chatham House 

3FF london 

Care for Calais Birmingham 

Hay Festival 


UCL event Preston 

CSPC talk 

Sherborne visit 

Holy cross school 

Guardian Live event 

HOME talk Manchester 

Sharples school 

Lancaster uni event 

Burway books, Shropshire 

Chichester talk 

Oxford festival 

Chatham House refugee panel 

Paris visit, school talks 

Munich uni, conference 

Sweden HeadTeachers congress 

Canterbury uni talk 

Oxfam schools event 

Shrewsbury event 

NHS Leeds 

Cambridge bookshop event. 

Lancaster art festival

Gladstone event 

Arabella church showcases 

Uffculme school, Devon

Wimbledon library 

Bolton library 

LSE politics society 

CitizenUK event 

New York visit, talks, interviews 

San Francisco presentation 

Fundraising for refugees Norfolk 

OHCHR, UN Geneva, Human Rights 

AHP event Leeds 

Shrewsbury college 

Lewes visit

Taunton literary festival 

FrontLine Club panel discussion 

Brussels conference 

Essa academy talk 

Edinburgh talk 

Belfast visit, talk 

SOAS launch event 

Queens Marry uni talk 

Nobel connection 

Salford uni SU 

Parliamentors panel discussion 

ilkley festival 

Manchester festival 

Warwick authors event 

The Lightless Sky publication in other languages. 

I am very pleased to say in 2016 #TheLightlessSky have been published in 6 languages and 7 different countries with 10 edition. You will be able to find them on Amazon and book shops around the U.K. Europ and the world. #Franch, German, Italian, Rominan, Chinese, American English and hopefully more to come…


Germany: ‘Sky without Light’ 


Italy: ‘I Follow The Stars’ 


Frence: ‘IamGulwali’


And US, https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/0062443895/ref=mp_s_a_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1483107196&sr=8-2&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=Gulwali+Passarlay&dpPl=1&dpID=51yYwAUgdTL&ref=plSrch

Graduation from the UoM! 

I am truly honoured and privilege to have completed my BA in politics and social science. Here are some articles about my completion and contributions at Manchester. 

Graduation success for inspirational Afghan refugee: http://www.manchester.ac.uk/discover/news/graduation-success-for-inspirational-afghan-refugee/

Inspiring Afghan refugee who fled across eight countries at the age of 12 graduates from University – MEN: http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/inspiring-afghan-refugee-who-fled-12336290#ICID=FB-MEN-main

Gulwali Passarlay celebrates graduation success after coming to Bolton as a refugee: http://www.theboltonnews.co.uk/news/bolton/14987786.Graduation_success_for_inspirational_Afghan_refugee/?ref=wa#comments-anchor

Two awards for the School in University awards ceremony. The Distinguished Achievement Awards Ceremony has been held to recognise achievements across the University.

Undergraduate of the year – Gulwali Passarlay
Gulwali Passarlay has just completed his Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences degree. http://www.socialsciences.manchester.ac.uk/about/news/distinguished-achievement-awards/

Articles, interviews in the last few months in 2016. 

2016, although being a terrible year for the world peace and refugees, but I have been very busy trying to making whatever little difference I would to give voice to the voiceless and human face to the statistics and numbers. 

Here are my writings and talks 🙂 

‘Less than human’: does asylum system harm child refugees’ mental health?


Once Upon a Tweet, found online, told online and watch online – BBC Three 


Like last year, I once again had the opportunity to lead the Refugee Welcome Protest in London. 


Speaking to bbc world – The Inquiry about missing UASC in Europe. #TheLightlessSky 


It was a great to have the chance to speak at Europen Commission on #EUChilRightsForum about my experiences, story and struggle as refugee in Europ. First 40 minutes  is my speech and discussion. 


Link to photos from the conference 🙂 https://www.facebook.com/gulwali.passarlay/posts/1382094275144015

‘When I fled to the UK, no one believed I was 13. Ten years on, nothing’s changed’

Gulwali Passarlay had to convince officials that he was still only a child when he arrived in the UK; now he sees children younger than he was facing the same treatment. He explains why it leaves him angry: 


And another Article I wrote for the guardian in 2015. 

At 13 I found sanctuary in Britain, now we’re failing refugee children: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/oct/26/britain-failing-refugee-children-asylum-seekers

Some portraits of me by an brilliant photographer 🙂 http://www.gulwali-passerlay.jampondphotography.com/gulwali-p

It was good to have been on the panel at Havering College students meet challenge of broadcasting their version of BBC’s Question Time: 

Mr Passarlay was met with a round of applause from the young audience when he said: “Why should old people just get the right to vote?”

He continued: “I was certain that we were going to vote to stay. The majority who voted to leave did it in good faith.

“It makes me angry that people who can vote, didn’t vote and 16-year-olds should be able to vote. If that was allowed the result would have been completely different.”


Alongside many talks and events that I have attend and participate go give speeches or go in conversation with academic and journalists. I was invited to give a talk and contribute to a panel discussion at the STAR conference by students supporting refugees. 


Spoke a charity event for Syria. https://youtu.be/bMrb6YdAcpw

Impressive to work with a group of Summer school students at IWM: https://youtu.be/jpWJRb3DHq0 

And finally some pictures from other events and conferences across the UK and Europe. 

Media update for The Lightless Sky 

Spoke to Aljazeera English regarding Afghans being deported: 


Student goes back to school to share his inspirational journey from refugee to university undergraduate: 


EU refugee deal ‘wrong decision,’ says author who fled Afghanistan: 


Refugee Gulwali Passarlay: why I travelled 12,000 miles alone at the age of 12 to reach the UK: 

‘Misery, humiliation and cold’: Calais

It has been a productive year so far, I have been travelling across the country speaking at literary festivals and event about #TheLightlessSky and #RefugeeCrisis 

With thanks to everyone for their support and encouragements 🙂