On June 13, ahead of World Refugee Day on June 20, the East West Institute’s New York Center convened a high-level roundtable discussion on the multilayered complexities of the Syrian refugee crisis with a focus on the unfolding events in Syria and ways to move beyond the bloodshed.
EWI Chief Operating Officer Dr. William J. Parker III hosted the event and the three panelists—Dr. Zaher Sahoul, Colonel Patrick J. Mahaney, Jr. and Loubna Mrie—provided their insights during the lively and substantial conversation moderated by EWI Visiting Scholar and journalist Tara Kangarlou.
The discussion centered on identifying key contributing factors to the Syrian conflict, the ongoing humanitarian crisis and an examination of the actors involved in this very complex landscape. There was a strong emphasis on the plight of Syrian refugees and internally displaced persons, the challenges imposed on host communities and the impact extremism plays on the most vulnerable, disenfranchised and under-served individuals, which, based on current studies and demographics, paint a potentially dire picture for the next generation of Syrian youth.
Dr. Sahoul is a senior advisor and past president of the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) and currently leads SAMS Global Response to address the refugee crisis in Europe and provide medical relief in disaster areas. Colonel Mahaney is a U.S. Army Special Forces Officer who has served as a Military Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and as a commander of the U.S. Army’s Asymmetric Warfare Group. Mrie is a Syrian activist and photojournalist who has closely covered the ongoing conflict in her country.