The Compelling Journey of A Syrian Refugee

Photo+Credit%3A+Christine+Coyle

Photo Credit: Christine Coyle

Written by Freya Rich ’20 (Web Staff Writer)
The LC community welcomed Sari Samakie to Gilcrest Auditorium on Thursday, January 18th. As part of the Senior Seminar series put on by the Alvord Center for Global and Environmental Studies, Sari spoke about his experiences living in Aleppo during the Syrian civil war. Currently, as a freshman studying at Georgetown University, Sari has deeply contemplated his time in Syria and has shared his thoughts and feelings with audiences in order to break down the stereotypes about refugees and start a genuine conversation.

During his talk, Sari told of his difficult adolescence and how he was kidnapped, twice and treated with cruelty and dehumanized. The shocking accounts of what he endured were heartbreaking and showed true grit and determination on his part. Sari spoke eloquently and used humour to ease the intensity of the topic and lighten the mood. During his time in captivity, Sari adhered to his strong belief in nonviolence and predetermined destiny. Several times when his captors threatened him with death or held him at gunpoint, he would simply tell them to go ahead, if he was meant to be killed right then, so be it.

Photo Credit: Christine Coyle

Sari stayed in Syria after he was finally released and spent his time making yogurt for a living. After a time, knowing he couldn’t make yogurt for the rest of his life, Sari and part of his family fled to Jordan. In Jordan, Sari got an internship and eventually got accepted into and enrolled in Kings Academy. A strong believer in the power of education, he co-founded a non-profit called Fikra 3al Mashi which translates to “Ideas on the Go”, an initiative to educate urban Syrian refugees in Jordan. Sari was a 2016 winner of the Kurt Hahn Prize and his story was made into a documentary in 2015.

Photo Credit: Christine Coyle