The Santa Fe Prep History Department and the Council on International Relations hosted a symposium on the Syrian refugee crisis this semester. Participants included the senior class, a group of 10th grade students, and a student delegation from the United World College.
In preparation, students wrote detailed policy proposals examining different diplomatic tools that were available to their respective nations. They role-played key Middle Eastern, European and North American nations and negotiated with the goal of generating a global response to the humanitarian crisis. Dr. Nadir Hashemi, Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at Denver University, also spoke about the roots and astonishing realities of the unfolding crisis. Students also heard from Iraqi student Abdulrahman Al-Rayyis, who shared his experiences about living with Syrian refugees and seeing their plight first hand.Participants took away a clear understanding of how the Syrian civil war is impacting not only the Middle East but its broader implications for our global community. This symposium was one of five events, which included talks by former U.S. Ambassadors and region experts, that the History Department sponsored this spring. The intention is to encourage students to wrestle with many of the difficult issues that are currently consuming the Middle East.
In a related event, Former US Ambassador to Qatar, Susan L. Ziadeh visited Prep last week. The ambassador met over lunch with a small group of tenth grade World History students who have been conducting their independent research on the history of the Middle East and Islam, particularly, on the status of women in Islam. Ambassador Ziadeh shared with students about her time in the Middle East and what it is like to serve in the foreign service. Then students presented their work and asked questions related to their research and her service in the region. Thanks to Russell Spinney and Nick Wirth for making these opportunities available to our students!