Reflections on Syria

A conversation about the human cost of conflict, and the role of art in catalyzing urgency


Organizing Institutions

Slought, Bryn Mawr College, Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture


Hazami Sayed


Lisa Kraus

Opens to public





4017 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Slought, Bryn Mawr College and Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture are pleased to announce Reflections on Syria, a conversation about the human cost of conflict, and the role of art in catalyzing urgency, on Saturday, September 8, 2018 from 2-4pm.

The locales represented in Tania El Khoury's work—gardens in Syria where the bodies of political activists are buried, a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon (El Khoury's home country) where the inhabitants have been "temporarily" hosted for generations, camps in Munich, and many border zones—are the kind of distant places Americans have heard about often enough in the news that we may have become numb to the realities of life in such circumstances. In her work, El Khoury conspires with the audience, bringing us into intimate experiences that echo, in fragments, the sound, the look, the feel, of real life events that her work embodies. Whether focusing on the persecution of activists responding to oppression or the stories of refugees facing challenges of flight or resettlement, each work invites the audience to make choices in interacting with our world.

Organized to coincide with ear-whispered: works by Tania El Khoury in the 2018 Fringe Festival, this free event with guest speakers, music and food features political science professor Samer Abboud, refugee resettlement worker Mohammed Al-Juboori, live artist Tania El Khoury and collaborator Kinana Issa, and musicians Hafez Kotain and Jay Fluellen, with Hazami Sayed as moderator. Please join us for this conversation.

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Samer Abboud is Associate Professor of Global Interdisciplinary Studies at Villanova University. He has published extensively on contemporary Syria, including a widely read book on the conflict entitled "Syria" (Polity, 2018).

Mohammed Al Juboori is a former Iraqi Refugee. He is an Employment Counselor/Job Developer for JEVS Human Services, where he helps refugees from Syria, Ukraine, Congo and other countries resettle in Philadelphia.

Jay Fluellen is a musician and currently teaches with the School District of Philadelphia at Northeast High School. Since 1997, he has been an organist/choir director at the historic African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas.

Hafez Kotain is a percussionist who is is fluent in both Arab and Latin rhythms—a fluency he honed in his native countries of Syria and Venezuela. He is a recipient of the 2013 Pew Fellowship in the Arts.

Hazami Sayed is the Executive Director of Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture. She received Leeway Foundation's 2012 Transformation Award, which is given to Philadelphia-area women artists committed to social change.

Major support for ear-whispered: works by Tania El Khoury has been provided to Bryn Mawr College by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, and is presented in association with FringeArts.