Seeds opened my eyes to narratives and perspectives and taught me to never look at anything from one point of view. Seeds taught me that people are bigger than politics and that human relations go way beyond borders and culture. Because of my experience at Seeds I discovered what I was good at and what I was meant to do, and that was connecting people and showing people that there is always common ground. Because of that, I pursued my masters in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University.
How have you impacted your community?
I am the founder of Project Amal ou Salam (meaning “Project Hope and Peace”), a CRDC initiative and volunteer-run organization that aims to empower the future leaders of Syria through education, intervention, and trauma-based care.
The overall objective of the program is to contribute actively and meaningfully towards a nonviolent transition to an inclusive, secure, and sustainable peace in Syria. We work on this through the implementation of a transformative educational psychosocial program for refugee and internally displaced children. Using music, art, sports, photography, and team-building activities to teach kids about trust and unity, and help them deal with the trauma they have sustained. Workshops provide open dialogue, giving the kids a safe space to tackle the issues that they face, and develop their own ideas and visions for the future of Syria.
In addition to running workshops in refugee areas in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, and inside Syria, Project Amal ou Salam also sponsors schools in these countries and responds to urgent needs of the Syrian refugee community, believing that every child has the right to education, to a childhood free from trauma and violence, and to the hope of a peaceful tomorrow.
Over the years, and mainly because of Seeds of Peace, I have built an extensive network of activists in Syria, Egypt, Jordan and Palestine, and work closely with them on designing programmatic content for CRDC’s overseas courses.
My work with refugee populations within and outside of Syria seeks to recover the “lost generation” of Syrian children to facilitate the reconstruction of post-conflict Syria. Project Amal ou Salam demonstrated its reach in August of 2013 during the first of the summer workshops for Syrian refugee children in southern Turkey, where we reached over 400 children. I recently returned to the Middle East to conduct more workshops with hopefully double the number of kids.
• George Mason University School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (MS)
• University of Toronto (Certificate in Global Journalism)
• Program Officer for Syria at The Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University
• Founder, Project Amal ou Salam