Teenage photographer Sinem’s photographs and comments from a newly re-settled Syrian family, showed the true cost of the refugee crisis.
On April 27, 2016 THO sponsored photo exhibit “On the Border: Syrian Women and Children” by acclaimed teenage photographer Sinem Oğuz was displayed at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). The exhibit, which was part of a panel titled “The Syrian Refugee Crisis: Challenges and Opportunities”, informed university students and Boren alumni about Turkey’s humanitarian efforts. Organized jointly by the Boren Forum alumni association and SAIS, the panel was aimed to provide first-hand perspectives of the crisis.
Speakers Alina Haddad from the Doctors Without Borders, Omar Hossino from the Syrian American Council (SAC), Burcu Erdogdu Tuncer from the Turkish Embassy, Sushil Narayanan from the Department of State and Mohammed Harba, a recently re-settled Syrian refugee, evaluated the ongoing crisis and spoke about the humanitarian challenges that the international community is facing. Sinem Oğuz, who was invited to take part at the panel to discuss her observations, was unable to attend.
Moderated by Boren Forum President and THO Program Manager Yenal Kucuker, Omar highlighted the challenges that the Syrian American Council faces, particularly the anti-immigration sentiment. Reflecting on the recent refugee deal between EU and Turkey, Omar indicated that despite concerns, the deal was actually working.
Burcu Erdogdu from the Turkish Embassy, provided a summary of what Turkey, the biggest host of Syrian refugees, has been doing for them, particularly about the children to avoid a “lost generation”. She indicated that Turkey had spent close to $10 billion for the refugees since the crisis began and needed the international community to step-up their contributions. Echoing some of the challenges highlighted by Mrs. Erdogdu, Alina Haddad, who performed humanitarian work in Jordan for Doctors Without Borders, informed the audience about her on-the-ground observations and challenges that Jordan had.
Sushil Narayanan from the Department of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration explained the official government policy and types of cooperation that the U.S. government has with countries that are hosting the Syrian refugees.
Mohammed Harba, a Syrian refugee from Damascus whose family was resettled in Washington by International Rescue Committee, gave an emotional personal narrative about his family’s survival. Mohammed thanked the Turkish and American authorities for their critical assistance.
THO will continue to focus on Syrian refugee crisis. “On the Border: Syrian Women and Children” which was previously on display at the U.S. Congress and Turkey-U.S. Business Council’s gala, can be viewed below.