#MeWeSyria carrying the power of storytelling to Cal State University

Storytelling is the way we activate and transfer the fire, energy and hope of human experience. It is the oldest gift we, as human beings, have. It is a tool for reflection, understanding, creativity and changemaking. This is why the MeWe youth storytelling initiative is so powerful, as it aims to amplify the storytelling capacities of disadvantaged youth worldwide.

#MeWeSyria is coming to California State University on 22 April. The interactive panel will include a screening of some of the young refugees’ stories and messages, and a discussion on the power of storytelling for youth engagement and social development.

Hope to see you there!

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–Mohsin

#MeWeSyria: Syrian refugee youth persevere

Here are some pictures taken while leading #MeWeSyria communications workshops in the #Zaatari refugee camp. Syrian refugee youth–enduring harsh sun and desert weather–bravely managed to write and direct their own films about hardships, hope, equality, and their dreams. The boys and girls groups, pictured below, successfully completed 4 short films of their own. Thanks to Jamie from the @Questscope NGO. Questscope kindly hosted my project and are leading incredible mentoring and informal education programs inside Zaatari refugee camp.

 

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zatari girls workshops

 

 

Stressed!

I am two days away from departing to Jordan to begin my arts diplomacy workshops for Syrian refugee youth.

It is crunch time and I feel like I am running in the dark. I still have not secured a place to live nor do I know how I am getting around. I do know that transportation in Jordan will be expensive. I have secured clearance to work with youth in the Zatari refugee camp and also with an NGO in Zarqa. As is the case with the Middle East, I cannot define a clear work schedule until I am there in person with the staff and partners. This is a bit scary as I am flying in Sunday and  I will need to move fast in order to implement this project in the 40 day timeline. Off into the great unknown.

Other than those worries, I have purchased most of the equipment for the workshops. All of this equipment will be donated to the refugee youth so that they can continue learning and creating. For $1,000 I got two camcorders, 2 digital cameras, an instant camera, SD cards, and other things. There is still more to buy before I leave Sunday. Pressure is on!!

 

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IN SEARCH OF AN ALLIANCE OF CIVILIZATIONS

 

Here is part one of my new series for the Huffington Post about IIE and UN Alliance of Civilizations Fellowship I participated in this year.
 
Part I: Morocco
 
Excerpt:
“I observed that an unchallenged barrier to educational partnership and reform in the education sector stems from the lack of encouragement for critical thinking within academics and lack of space for open debates that foster pluralism and a diversity of perspectives.

I encountered an example of this barrier with one Quran teacher in Casablanca who seemed to differentiate between education and critical thinking. In their logic, one needs to first memorize and learn everything before being allowed to debate and form critical thought. In the West, critical thinking and open debate are embedded in education. This gap between education and reflexivity is not limited to how the Quran is taught, but in how educators teach material in many schools in some Arab countries. Critical thinking and reflexivity, which are needed for the conditions of pluralism and cooperation to flourish, seem to be lacking due these mentalities that differentiate critical thinking and education…..”