Winthrop

Winthrop hosts series on Syrian refugee crisis

Winthrop University professor Chris Van Aller speaks with students and others Thursday at a lecture about the Syrian refugee crisis — one event in a series about the Syrian civil war called “Putting a Face on Syria: Hope Through Education.”
Winthrop University professor Chris Van Aller speaks with students and others Thursday at a lecture about the Syrian refugee crisis — one event in a series about the Syrian civil war called “Putting a Face on Syria: Hope Through Education.” tkimball@heraldonline.com

To help understand Syria’s civil war, Winthrop University has joined with the Rock Hill community in a series of events, “Putting a Face on Syria: Hope Through Education.”

A community committee has planned lectures, exhibitions and other free, public events on the crisis caused by the ongoing civil war in Syria. Organizer Ginger Williams, a Winthrop history professor, said the purpose is to raise awareness and money for the education of Syrian refugee children in Syria and Lebanon.

Syria has been torn apart after almost five years of civil war. More than 250,000 Syrians have died in what started as anti-government protests. More than 11 million others have been forced from their homes. The refugees’ movement to Lebanon and to Europe and America to find them new homes has sparked conflict.

Two of the seven Winthrop events are fundraising events. The series also includes a photo exhibit of Syrian refugees by Tina Manley, in the Lewandowski Student Gallery in McLaurin Hall through Sept. 26.

The remaining five events are:

▪ Oct. 15 – 5-7 p.m., Oakland Avenue Presbyterian Church, Activities Center, 421 Oakland Ave., Rock Hill, barbecue benefit. Tickets are $20 in advance or at the door. All proceeds will go to the Syrian refugee education project.

▪ Oct. 18 – 7 p.m., Dina’s Place, DiGiorgio Campus Center, “The Syrian Refugee Crisis Today.” Mary Mikhael, a Presbyterian born in Syria to Greek Orthodox parents, will address the crisis in Syria. She is past president of the Near East School of Theology in Beirut, Lebanon.

▪ Oct. 20 – 6:30 p.m., Galilee Center, Charlotte, “The Syrian Refugee Crisis in Context.” Mikhael will repeat her lecture.

▪ Nov. 15 – 11 a.m. Dina’s Place, DiGiorgio Campus Center. “Welcoming the Stranger in Our Midst.” Bedrija Jazic fled her native Bosnia after the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1996. She is director of Refugee Services for Lutheran Services Carolinas.

▪ Nov. 17 – 11 a.m., Dina’s Place, DiGiorgio Campus Center, “Environmental Roots of the Syrian Crisis: Quantifying the Worst Drought in Centuries.” Bryan McFadden, a Winthrop instructor of geography, talks about environmental causes of the Syrian crisis.

Support for the series comes from Winthrop’s Peace, Justice and Conflict Resolution Studies Program, Providence Presbytery, Winthrop’s Global Learning Initiative, and the Winthrop Departments of History, Political Science, Interdisciplinary Studies and Philosophy and Religious Studies.

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