Little Amal, a globally acclaimed 12-foot-tall puppet, is on a journey.

Amal, whose name means “hope” in Arabic, symbolizes a 10-year-old Syrian refugee girl in search of her mother. The puppet has already traveled through more than a dozen countries to raise awareness about the plight of refugee children. In September, she'll begin her U.S. journey with several stops in Boston and Cambridge.

“At the heart of the Little Amal experience is bringing both a spirit of welcome to Amal as a symbol of all of the refugees, migrants and immigrants that not only historically have come to our shores in Boston and nationally, but in this current moment when we're really in a moment of continuing crisis, of more folks needing the love and support of the community in Boston,” Ronee Penoi, the director of artistic programming at ArtsEmerson, said on Boston Public Radio. ArtsEmerson is hosting a welcoming event for Little Amal.

The puppet will make her first appearance in Boston on Sept. 7 at Dewey Square, and from there she will travel to Chinatown, passing along streets that were once part of Little Syria. The neighborhood stretched from what is now the Chinatown Gate into the South End, along Shawmut Avenue. However, much of the neighborhood was demolished to make way for urban development and infrastructure projects.

Brisa Areli Muñoz, the commissioned artist and director for Little Amal’s Harvard campus event, said this historical connection serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of preserving and sharing people’s stories.

"What's important to remember about these events is that it's not just about welcome," said Muñoz. "It is also about raising awareness. It is also about really wrestling with the contradictions of our society."

Moving this large puppet and organizing such large events is made possible with the help of various community partners. In Boston, the city is working alongside ArtsEmerson, American Repertory Theater (ART) at Harvard University, Company One Theatre, the Institute of Contemporary Art and a handful of other organizations. That collaboration is by design.

"It's one of the hopes that this larger global team has: That we actually become a more connected community ourselves because of Amal's influence," said Muñoz.

Penoi noted that Little Amal evokes a range of emotions depending on the context in which she is encountered.

“If you see her alone by the water, it tells a certain story. It evokes a certain emotion. If you see her walking through the city as part of a parade, that evokes a different kind of emotion. If you see her sleeping, that might bring something else to you,” said Penoi. “So there's so many ways in which puppets as a representation of humanity can actually allow us to go to a deeper place of empathy.”

Muñoz said puppetry is an element of a magical experience similar to that of theater.

“Puppets really allow us to go to that place of being childlike and really have wonder and be able to access some different kinds of feelings and empathy. Then if you know, we're engaging human beings,” said Muñoz.

“When we see puppetry, we know in some ways that that might not be real, they may not be real. And yet the spirit of the theater, the magic of the theater, all of a sudden finds itself in us,” said Penoi.

And Muñoz said while Little Amal is a puppet, what she represents is real.

“In doing work with refugees and immigrants here in Boston, as we're preparing for Little Amal, they say, ‘I am her, she is me.’”