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Syrian refugee outreach topic of March 19 lecture

“Students Organize for Syria: UT Students’ Outreach to the Refugee Community” will be discussed Monday, March 19, at 1 p.m. in Memorial Field House Room 2420.

Marah and Farrah Alarmanazi, founders and presidents of the UT chapter of Students Organize for Syria, will deliver the lecture hosted by the Department of World Languages and Cultures. Both are students in the Jesup Scott Honors College.

The lecture will cover activities the organization has participated in with the Syrian refugee community in Toledo, as well as volunteer and community engagement opportunities UT students can get involved in.

In 2014 when refugees began coming to the United States from Syria, Marah and Farrah noticed that a number of them did not have a student organization to spread awareness about what was happening in their country or to be a social support system. In 2016, they created an independent organization, but in 2017 teamed up with the national organization Students Organize for Syria and became a chapter.

“We have a large refugee community in Toledo and by learning and participating in the various opportunities we offer, students will learn how to interact with this population and gain a new insight into a different culture,” Marah said.

Attendees will gain insights to refugees’ backgrounds, including their culture, as well as some of the hardships they face in their everyday lives.

“Students will learn about the volunteering opportunities that involve a direct interaction with the refugees such as our Family Education Program in which volunteers gain an invaluable experience through interacting with refugee children that speak a different language, lived through the war, and lost many years of education,” Farrah said. “Interested students can also participate as a tutor in this program for credit hours under the Department of World Languages and Cultures or the Jesup Scott Honors College.”

For more information on the free, public lecture or to get involved, contact marah.alarmanazi@rockets.utoledo.edu.