On Thursday, April 12 the Columbia branch of Students Organize for Syria orchestrated a charity concert featuring renowned Syrian clarinetist Kinan Azmeh and City Band. The proceeds of the event went towards the Jusoor, an NGO founded by Syrian expatriates focused on providing refugee children with the opportunity to continue their schooling in the camps of Lebanon. To date, Jusoor has 1700 students enrolled in its academic programs, and is continuing to grow. The event itself was a great success, raising over $2,000 for the foundation. It began with representatives from the Students Organize for Syria branch at Columbia giving opening remarks, and was followed up by a presentation from Jusoor’s representatives. The concert drew New Yorkers from differing backgrounds, all with the desire to help the Syrian refugee crises and support an amazing musician. This helped to contribute to a warm and intimate atmosphere, in which Kinan and City Band thrived. The music was lively, harrowing, and thoughtful; a mark of a truly great performance. The event was put together under the leadership of junior founder Yazan Nagi with the helps of Nadine Fattaleh, Nadine Talaat, Saphe Shamoun, Shezza Abboushi Dellal, Omar Abboud, Omar Halawa, and Maria Awwa. The group continues to be an active force on Columbia University’s campus and is looking to host more events within the coming year.
My name is Yazan Nagi, and I’m a Junior at Columbia University majoring in Middle Eastern, African, and South Asian Studies in the PreMed program. I helped start at SOS in order to help others view the conflict in Syria in a new lens. Media coverage is minimal and slowly dwindling, with sensationalized news stories dominating the average citizen’s perception and knowledge of the war. With no clear end in sight, it is essential that the situation in Syria at least maintain a certain presence at our educational institutions – some way to consistently keep it within the sphere of awareness of the Columbia community, as well as communities on campuses throughout the nation. SOS is that student voice, and I hope that this network sustains itself and grows within the country and beyond for years to come.
My name is Nadine Fattaleh, and I’m a sophomore at Columbia University studying Economics and Sustainable Development. I’m originally from Jordan, and I joined Students Organize for Syria specifically because of my interest in the Syrian refugee crisis in my country. I firmly believe in SOS’s mission to raise awareness about the humanitarian crisis in Syria and its neighboring countries. The power of student activism is necessary to shift the conversation on US campuses from “geostrategic implications” and “political solutions” in Syria to the humanitarian toll that has affected each Syrian’s life.
My Im a sophomore at Barnard College of Columbia University studying psychology with a minor in economics. I’m a first generation US citizen but my parents are both native-born Syrians. I joined SOS to make a difference in a country that has meant so much to me growing up and is now being torn apart by violence. I believe in what this group stands in and look forward to seeing the evolution and progress of the club throughout the rest of my time at Barnard and beyond.