What is Suitcase Stories?

Today, people relocate and travel internationally more than at any other time in history. Whether while at home or abroad, how we view and understand diverse backgrounds is profoundly influenced by the stories we hear from neighbors, relatives, and colleagues, as well as our own interactions with people from around the world.

Suitcase Stories® provides a unique way for a community to explore migration through the art of storytelling and foster a more welcoming and inclusive environment for newcomers in neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces.

Suitcase Stories invites U.S.- and foreign-born residents to develop and share meaningful personal experiences of migration and cross-cultural exchange with others—from large audiences to small groups—of all ages.

Everyone has a Suitcase story. Unpack stories in your community with IINE.

“Participating in Suitcase Stories was a memorable experience because it was the first time I have shared my story on stage with other refugees and immigrants to make our voices heard, and to be an advocate for the voiceless.”

– Biar Kon, IINE client and former Sudanese refugee.

Suitcase Stories Events

Upcoming Virtual Suitcase Stories Events

Despite social distancing, Suitcase Stories continues online! Join our upcoming virtual events to hear new stories from new voices from throughout New England. Many virtual events include live talk-backs where you can hear more about the storytellers’ backstories and perspectives on fostering inclusive communities.

View all upcoming events


All Suitcase Stories programs aim to reduce bias and prejudice towards immigrants and refugees and to enhance empathy and understanding.

Suitcase Stories Live—virtual or staged events

Our signature program features professional and emerging storytellers sharing personal stories with audiences of 100+ guests. Suitcase Stories performances are hosted in partnership with arts organizations, businesses, faith institutions, libraries, NGOs, and schools. Showcases feature personal migration stories told by diverse voices, which can include a mix of exclusive Suitcase storytellers and/or voices from the community (i.e. students, employees, neighbors, etc.)

Suitcase Stories Unpacked – virtual or in-person

To help people further “unpack” their personal migration stories and connect with neighbors of diverse backgrounds, IINE offers ‘Suitcase Stories Unpacked,’ a storytelling workshop series. The program can be offered independently or combined with a graduate showcase, if desired.

For more information, click to download: 

To hear the stories of immigrants at all stages of their assimilation
was eye-opening and heartwarming.

– Boston audience member

View past stories

About our Storytellers

Suitcase Stories performers include a combination of professional storytellers and people new to the craft. For many storytellers, Suitcase Stories is his or her first time sharing the story in front of a live audience and can be a transformative experience.

Past storytellers have traveled to the U.S. from Afghanistan, Cambodia, Cuba, Haiti, Korea, Myanmar, Poland, Somalia, Sudan, and many other countries. Storytellers also include people born in the United States to reinforce how immigration is a subject that affects all of us.

To be considered as a storyteller,
contact Director Cheryl Hamilton at chamilton@iine.org