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Concert for Hope

Concert for Hope

Tue, 23 Mar 2021 19:00 - 20:30 Greenwich Mean Time (UTC±0)

Register here.

A special celebration of welcome and hope, featuring outstanding Syrian musicians and stories of welcome through Community Sponsorship

About this Event

March 2021 represents the heart-breaking anniversary of 10 years since the outbreak of conflict in Syria, with over 5.6 million people having since fled abroad and 6.7 million having been internally displaced. Although international attention on the country has focused on this decade-long tragedy, Syria boasts a long and proud history of tolerance towards communities of different faiths and ethnicities, a rich culture of literature (from Abu Tammam to Nizar Qabbani), and a long musical tradition (with some of the earliest notated melodies and musical instruments originating from the country, and largest city Aleppo being known as the “Mother of Tarab” folk music). It also holds a remarkable reputation for welcoming visitors with open arms.

In a special online concert on Tuesday 23rd March, UK Welcomes Refugees invites us to come together to celebrate Syria’s music, culture and people with outstanding Syrian musicians who have made their homes in the UK. This event shows how the Community Sponsorship movement – which allows local communities to play a leading role in the resettlement of refugee families and which UK Welcomes Refugees seeks to grow across the country – is an opportunity to enrich our own culture as well as fulfil our duty to refugees. Through a combination of musical performances and first-hand testimonials, the event will raise awareness of the Community Sponsorship scheme, grow the movement, and celebrate the power of communities coming together to welcome refugees and mobilise for hope. More than anything, however, the evening represents an opportunity to celebrate the talent of those we seek to welcome.

Featuring Ahmad al-Rashid (himself a former refugee from Syria, well known for featuring in the BBC documentary Exodus: Our Journey to Europe) and UKWR trustee and human rights lawyer Nour Sakr as live hosts throughout, this free event will take the form of an online concert, featuring a series of performances from some of the most outstanding Syrian musicians in the UK. These include renowned qanun player Maya Youssef (“the Queen of Qanun”), who wrote the piece she will perform during lockdown dreaming of “all humanity walking together to a better more compassionate future to everyone and the earth”. Outstanding oud player Rihab Azar (the first female oud player to perform accompanied by the Syrian National Orchestra for Arabic Music), Riyad Nicholas (described by International Piano as “Syria’s leading young pianist”), Mariela Shaker (violin, described by BuzzFeed as “singular. A virtuoso”, also named as a Champion of Change for World Refugees by Barack Obama), Raghad Haddad (viola), Adnan Shamdin (tambur), Osama and Hatem Kiwan (piano and voice) and others will also perform. The music will be accompanied by a series of powerful stories illustrating the life-changing impact that Community Sponsorship can have, both for the resettled families and for the communities supporting them. Hear from a refugee resettled through the scheme, the experiences of a Community Sponsor, the story of the movement from UKWR’s director Bekele Woyecha, and a discussion around the role of Community Sponsorship in shaping the future of refugee resettlement in the UK from Lord Alf Dubs, the Labour party peer who came to the UK from Prague on the Kindertransport of 1939 and is a tireless champion of refugee resettlement in the UK. Finally, our hosts will invite you to rally together to offer welcome to a refugee family in your own community. Together, we will demonstrate that the UK not only should welcome refugees, but thrives when it does so.

To learn more about UK Welcomes Refugees visit:

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