ECAR Shines at U.N. Together Campaign Summit

On January 9th, 2018 Every Campus A Refuge entered the world stage. The United Nations hosted a Together Campaign Summit in New York City to showcase different initiatives around the globe that provide a wide range of support to refugees and migrants. Guilford was among ten colleges and universities that were invited to attend the Summit.

Krista Clark, professor at Guilford College who also teaches in the ECAR minor, participated in the Summit. She says that “the environment was surreal. So many international voices and faces. I have always wanted to visit the UN in NYC and so I really just stood outside the main building and then inside the main building in awe.” The UN is a place for international conversation and collaboration — a place where solutions go to marinade in minds from around the world so as to look at an old problem with new eyes.

Another participant, ECAR program coordinator Hali Rose Kohls says, “Being around students, faculty and staff from universities all over the world who provided services to refugees was thrilling and inspiring. This work can be very draining at times, but I came out of the summit feeling rejuvenated and excited to get back to creating a refuge on our campus.” Kohls says that ECAR was one of the few organizations there that “offered a tangible spectrum of resources to offer to newcomers to Greensboro.”

Jonathan Maj, secretary of ECAR and digital media specialist, remembers ECAR standing out from the crowd. During Diya’s keynote, Maj recalls how “She also discussed how college campuses can do more than just spread knowledge by using the ECAR model as a means of experiential learning.” This aspect of experiential learning makes the program more adept at handling the complex problems that refugees face upon arrival. ECAR learns by doing, letting the talk in the classroom transmit into social impact. The ECAR minor shows rather than tells the dedication that Guilford College has to alleviating problems of refugees to Greensboro.

Clark also mentions Diya’s keynote saying, “I truly love hearing Diya speak about ECAR and why this program was so important to her in fulfilling the hopes and dreams of her lived experience.  She speaks with such eloquence and compassion.” In her speech, Diya spoke about the idea of radical hospitality. Krista Craven, ECAR delegate and Guilford professor, details the feeling of excitement upon seeing “that there were universities around the world committed to addressing the refugee crisis and engage in the idea of radical hospitality.”

New York City presented an entirely different set of challenges to Summit attendees. Maj walked “16 miles in basically 1 day around the city just so I could see as much of midtown in between obligations at the UN.”  This is no small task when taking into account inclement weather at the time of the Summit. On the other hand, Clark took a different approach and learned how to use Lyft saying “I loved learning something new about navigating a city.”

In the last moments of their trip, ECAR delegates had the opportunity to meet delegates of the Quaker UN. “I had no idea that Quakers had their own entity within the United Nations,” Kohls states, “connecting with other Quakers around the world to help foster peace and good relations. It was really neat to learn about what they do.”

The work of Dr. Abdo and dedicated ECAR supporters embodies true devotion to solving the refugee crisis. Craven is not alone when she says it is “great to see ECAR get the international recognition that it deserves.”

ECAR Recital and Reception

In celebration of Every Campus a Refuge, supporters, friends, and participants gathered at Guilford College to hear a beautiful selection of music and marvel in the artwork of Leila Abdelrazaq and Ali Khasrachi. The evening started with a performance from the Triad Tapestry Children’s Chorus. Led by choir director Melissa Burris, the Chorus sang five songs about hope, community, and diversity. The entire room joined in song at the last selection, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” leaving smiling faces and dancing children all around.

The next awe-inspiring performance came from mezzo soprano Sarah Love Taylor and pianist Radha Upton. Their first selection was in direct response to one of the first recent immigration bans. Most of their selections had a political undertone and spoke to the challenges and triumphs of the immigrant and refugee experience. They chose to perform a song cycle using quotes from people that came through Ellis Island. This cycle included a prologue, a six-part journey, and an epilogue that was musically sublime with some stories leaving the audience laughing and some with gloom.

After these incredible performances, friends were asked to take a look at the artwork of Ali Khasrachi, a refugee hosed by ECAR. His works are still on display in the Hege library next to photographs from the Red Sand Project.

The evening was filled with activism and resistance, urging people to become part of the movement to celebrate a beauty that only comes when cultures collide and differences are uplifted.

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Alana Harrelson

ECAR Volunteer Attends The Washington Center Seminar

In fall of 2017, Guilford College won The Washington Center’s 2017 Higher Education Civic Engagement Award for its Every Campus A Refuge program. Part of the award was a scholarship for one student from Guilford College to attend The Washington Center’s Inside Washington Academic Seminar on Media, Politics, and Advocacy. The Seminar lasted from January 2nd until January 14th, exposing attendees to Washington, D.C. culture, a number of political vantage points, and local nonprofits doing work aligning with ECAR’s mission.

The Guilford College student nominated and then later selected for this honor was Salah Sayess ’18.

Salah is double majoring in Health Science and Exercise Science. Initially, Salah came to Guilford largely because of the Golf program. As his college years went on, he started thinking about joining a program that better aligned with his values. So Salah quit golf and found ECAR to take its place.

Salah says, “ECAR was the perfect opportunity for me.” He started helping out with tutoring which quickly branched out into helping out with job applications, filling out tax forms, helping kids get registered for school, assisting people with English, and just being their friend.

When Salah arrived at The Washington Center he said it was “definitely not an experience that was in my comfort zone.” Most people there were seasoned political science majors looking to get more entrenched in the field, but Salah was looking for something else. He was looking for genuine politicians that honored their title and were devoted to solving problems in their community.

Salah heard from various different speakers on different sides on the spectrum. He heard from Hillary Clinton, Ben Carson, CSPAN executives, and many more local leaders in the nonprofit world. One of his favorite moments was when Congressman Joe Kennedy III talked to his group asking them questions about what they thought, gathered their opinions, and did very little talking. He also had the opportunity to meet the first Congresswoman from Vietnam, Stephanie Murphy and found her inspirational.

Salah “dreams to help out people in need, be that refugees, immigrants, or people experiencing homelessness,” he wants to be part of a greater mission for good. No matter the cause, Salah and other people involved in ECAR know that change is slow but absolutely necessary to the progression of society.

Leila Abdelrazaq Visits Guilford

Tuesday, November 14th Guilford welcomed Palestinian graphic novelist Leila Abdelrazaq with a high turnout and engaging questions after her presentation about the complexities of being part of the Palestine diaspora. Leila spoke about the themes she includes in her work, such as refugee communities as sites of both life and resistance, the right of return, and excluding the oppressor’s voice when creating her own narrative and graphics. Her presentation was filled with personal stories and was coupled with an insightful glance into how systems of oppression are connected, but are not the sole characteristic of refugees. Each have their own stories, history, and agency separate from the systems they exist within and navigate on a daily basis.

Much thanks goes out to Leila for her powerhouse presentation and breath of knowledge about producing art in various forms! ECAR is grateful for everyone who helped organize this event and for attendees from all over!

      

Photo Credit: Fernando Jimenez

On Thursday, October 5th,  ECAR hosted Dr. Linda Rabben from the University of Maryland.  During her presentation, Dr. Rabben discussed sanctuary and asylum for refugees.  It was great to see so many ECAR volunteers and Guilford College students present at this very timely talk!  ECAR wants to thank Dr. Linda Rabben for coming to Guilford and taking the time to talk about this important issue!

By: Nicole Moore

Higher Education Civic Engagement Award given to Guilford College and Every Campus a Refuge

So excited to announce that Every Campus A Refuge and Guilford College have been honored with The Washington Center’s 2017 Higher Education Civic Engagement Award.

Many thanks to the amazing people who support ECAR and make it possible, and especially to Program Coordinators Walid Musarsaa and Hali Rose Kohls and the inspiring ECAR volunteers.

Please read more about the Washington Center and this prestigious award here and here

Recital for ECAR

Last night ECAR hosted a recital in the Carnegie Room in the Hege Library. The program consisted of songs which spoke about the trials of refugees and immigrants.  Sarah Taylor who is an opera singer and Radha Upton who accompanied Sarah on the piano made the event a great success!  ECAR wants to thank Sarah and Radha for a taking the time to produce a wonderful performance!

 

After Spring Screening

This past Wednesday ECAR hosted a screening and fundraiser in Guilford College’s Dana Auditorium.  The film shown was After Spring, which discussed the growing refugee crisis.  The event was co-sponsored by Guilford College’s Amnesty International Chapter and was a great success!  ECAR wants to thank everyone who attended the event and donated, as well as a big thanks to the many volunteers who helped with the event.

Written by: Niki Moore

 

ECAR Dinner: Food, Friends and Funds

On Thursday, February 2, ECAR hosted Chef Kevin Ray Archer for the Peace Meal Supper Club’s 17th meal! The dinner’s title was ‘Sanctuary,’ and the theme of the meal was to raise awareness about refugees as well as funds for Every Campus A Refuge and the families it hosts on Guilford’s campus. The dinner was a welcoming event as well as an excellent opportunity to support refugees and educate citizens in the Greensboro community! The dinner itself was a huge success with over 30 guests, and ECAR wants to thank all the people who came out and volunteered as well as Chef Kevin Ray Archer and his staff for providing a delicious meal!
Written by Nicole Moore

Gulf South Summit

Congratulations to Diya Abdo and Every Campus A Refuge on being selected for the Gulf South Summit’s 2017 Outstanding Service-Learning Collaboration in Higher Education Award. Multiple colleagues and former students nominated Diya, citing her tireless commitment to refugee communities around the country.

The 2017 Gulf South Summit will be March 22-24, 2017 in Greensboro, North Carolina. Awards and a $500 cash prize will be presented during the conference. Diya will also be recognized in the conference printed program.