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Narratives of Hope, Solidarity and Resilience

Narratives of Hope, Solidarity and Resilience

Date and time: Friday, June 19, 2020, 5 to 7 pm British Summer Time (UTC+1)

Register here.

Panel Discussion: Step in…. it’s not a typical day! Narratives of hope, solidarity and resilience.

Panel discussion will be guided by Basma El Doukhi, a master’s degree candidate at the Centre of Development and Emergency Practice at Oxford Brookes University.

Panel: Basma El Doukhi (Palestinian stateless refugee), Oxford Lord Mayor; leader of the Green Group; Green Group shadow member for finance, leisure, parks and sports, Cllr Craig Simmons, Chaker Khazal founder of Candle of Hope, Lucy Nichol Services Delivery & Development Manager at Refugee Resource in Oxford and Razan Al Sous founder of Squeaky Cheese/Yorkshare Dama Cheese.

We can connect and build bridges with each other as humans when we overcome our stereotypes, assumptions and judgments.

How can creative and interconnected practices, ideas, projects, initiatives, and stories positively contribute and enhance the way and models refugees tell their stories, how they are perceived by the Western audiences!?

How can the voice of refugees and asylum seekers be reflected through their personal and community stories and journeys of censorship and exile creativity!?

What is our role to share, promote and enhance refugees and asylum seekers perceptions and stories and change the narratives through the lens of resilience!?

We will explore together ideas, projects and lessons learned about resilience through the lens of individuals, initiatives, community organizations focusing on development and humanitarian aid sector.

Let’s create and celebrate narratives for hope, resilience, acceptance and solidarity.

We will explore the role of cities of sanctuary in welcoming diversity and particularity Oxford and celebrate its achievements.

This evening discussion will be followed by a Q & A.

This event is part of Oxford City of Sanctuary and Oxford Human Rights Festival (CENDEP)

Basma El Doukhi is currently studying for a master’s degree in Development and Emergency Practice (CENDEP) at Oxford Brookes University and believes that changes in one’s life can lead to a change in the world. She is a Chevening scholar for 2019/2020 and a Rebecca Dyknes award holder from UK embassy in Lebanon. She has been active in humanitarian and development work with refugees and asylum seekers for the past ten years including working on topics in relation to sexual and gender-based violence, child protection, prevention and response activities and community outreach and mobilization support programs including advocacy. Before starting my Masters at Oxford Brookes University she worked as a protection and community-based humanitarian and development professional with UNHCR, UNRWA and many international NGOs in Lebanon and Syria. As a Cumberland Lodge Scholar (2019-2020) she is also undertaking the Emerging International Leaders Program and is a young emerging leader in the Women for Future leaders Program. She is dedicated and passionate about interfaith relations and refugee protection including humanitarian work, rights advocacy and campaigning including working with women and youth, and community development and outreach.

Professor Cathrine Brun is a human geographer and Director of the Centre for Development and Emergency Practice (CENDEP), the School of Architecture at Oxford Brookes University, UK. Her research concentrates on protracted forced migration and conflict, housing and home as well as theory, ethics and practice of humanitarianism.

Chaker Khazaal is a Palestinian-Canadian reporter, speaker, regular contributor to major newspapers, and an award-winning author.

A Palestinian refugee born in Lebanon in 1987, Khazaal grew up in Bourj El Barajneh camp in Beirut. At a young age, he participated in several local plays and starred in the Palestinian film Sugar of Jaffa.

Immigrating to Canada, Khazaal was one of only four recipients of the Global Leader of Tomorrow Award. He studied International Development at York University (Toronto, Ontario) and graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts (BA). Khazaal, focusing on international affairs, went on to produce and host a variety of web-based shows and events in partnership with governmental and not-for-profit organizations in Canada, USA, Honduras, South Africa, India, and Ukraine.

Khazaal started writing for the Huffington Post in 2014, traveling extensively to conflict zones and refugee camps. In later years, these stories inspired his novels.

Khazaal, an advocate for refugees and aspiring young writers, is a strong, engaging and savvy communicator. He has been invited to speak at organizations, corporations and governments worldwide, including the UN, Google, Facebook, and national parliaments, as well as being regularly featured addressing and hosting global conferences.

In recognition of his many accomplishments, he was named Esquire’s Middle East Man of the Year 2015, and in 2016 Khazaal was ranked first by Arabian Business Magazine in the 100 Most Powerful Arabs Under 40. In the same year, he was presented with the Mentor Arabia Award by Queen Silvia of Sweden and Prince Turki Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. In December 2017, Khazaal was awarded the Global Trailblazer, together with Arianna Huffington by New York-based NGO Bridges of Understanding.

He is currently an Ambassador for Silatech, an international social initiative that works to create jobs and expand economic opportunities for young Arabs. Since 2018, Khazaal has served as a High Profile Supporter of the UN Refugee Agency’s (UNHCR) Goodwill Ambassador Program, having participated in mission trips to Bangladesh, Jordan, and Lebanon to raise awareness of refugee issues. He is the founder of the Young Arab Awards in Dubai, recognizing young Arab pioneers in various fields. He also serves on the selection board of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Film Festival in New York. Khazaal is also involved in many businesses and startups in the tech and digital marketing fields.

His first novel, Confessions of a War Child (Part One), was published in March 2013; followed by Part Two (Lia) in 2014 and Part Three (Sahara) in 2015. In 2017, Khazaal released his fourth novel, Tale of Tala, which made it onto the Amazon Best Sellers list and received a further award in 2019 from ITP Publishing in Dubai. The novel embraces the journey of a Palestinian refugee from living in a camp in Lebanon to becoming a victim of human trafficking in Europe. The subsequent book tour incorporated 35 cities and numerous book fairs.

For his fifth and most recent novel, Life Dice – due for release September 2020 – the author traveled to Iraq to interview Yazidis, Kurdish Fighters and the internally displaced. To raise further awareness of the compelling content of the novel, Khazaal partnered with Ayman Z. Jomaa of Numbase Group to develop a unique interactive app that allows readers to watch clips based on book events, providing additional and crucial details to the written words.

During the COVID-19 crisis, Chaker released a literature experiment where he shared one chapter of Life Dice for people to suggest plot changes. He also launched Candle of Hope app where people light digital candles from their countries to set a positive counter of lit candles.

Lord Mayor of Oxford, Councillor Craig Simmons lives in East Oxford with his partner and teenage daughter. He has represented the area on the County and then City Council for more than 20 years. He works in East Oxford for a locally headquartered, international sustainability consultancy. Craig is a keen cyclist and community campaigner having established the East Oxford Farmer’s Market and Low Carbon East Oxford as well as co-founding the Cowley Road Carnival and local car club. His supported organizations for the coming year are Asylum Welcome and The Lord Mayor’s Climate Change Fund.

Lucy Nichol is the Services Delivery & Development Manager and has worked for many years in various widening participation and community development roles both in Oxfordshire and in the developing world. She has worked with refugees, asylum seekers and vulnerable migrants for nearly 20 years and has lots of practical experience of delivering and managing social cohesion programs, adult learning courses and training provision in both the public and charitable sectors. Her aim is always to empower those with whom she is working to fulfill their personal potential, achieve their aspirations and help them to overcome any barriers they may be facing. Lucy has been with Refugee Resource since 2016.

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