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International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

WIS Freshmen Highlight The Struggles of Teen Syrian Refugees


A student presentation by freshmen Camila Levey and Ana Schlumberger highlighted the struggles of teen Syrian refugees at the GIN conference on the George Washington University campus.

Levey and Schlumberger began the presentation by asking the audience what they knew about the Syrian refugee crisis. The majority of the room had little knowledge on the issue.

Levey and Schlumberger then transitioned with an exercise, where they explained a theoretical scenario of a boy from Syria, who is about to graduate from high school, having to suddenly pack all of his things and flee his home with his family. He went by boat to Europe, and the journey took weeks. Once he reached Europe he must adjust to the culture and the way of life.  Schlumberger and Levey then asked everyone to write down how they would feel if they were in this young man’s shoes.

To close out the presentation, Schlumberger and Levey showed a 10-minute documentary about a teenage boy named Ibrahim. Ibrahim is from Syria and moved to Winnipeg with his father during the Syrian civil war. He lost his family to the war in Syria. The video focuses on his life in school and rehabilitation from a leg injury that occured in a bombing. “The video highlights the difficulties of the immigration of Syrian Refugees from an inside perspective and is meant to establish a personal connection between the viewer and the hardships of the boy,”Schlumberger said.

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Not everyone in the room felt the energy and excitement of the presenters. In an interview with Dateline, sophomore Lilli Berniger, an attendee of the presentation, claimed the presentation had been poorly organized . Berninger explained that throughout the presentation it seemed that her opinion reflected that of the rest of the room. “The leaders failed to explain it (the crisis) which left much of the audience uninformed and confused.”she said.

To help student presenters, GIN organizers offered presenters a 45-minute discussion about the basics of GIN just before the conference, with extra time outside of the meeting to prepare presentations.  Despite the quality of the presentation, Berninger enjoyed the topic and appreciated the overall effort of the presenters.

The main goal of this presentation wasn’t only the awareness towards the issue of teen Syrian Refugees, but also a pitch for the WIS club, Student Standing. “I was hoping my presentation would spark them to start a student standing at their school and get in contact with Paper Airplanes.(otherwise known as Students Standing)” said Schlumberger. Student Standing is a club where WIS students get in contact with student refugees from different countries, and tutor those student refugees in English.

“Paper airplanes gave me a way to make a positive impact in these Syrian kids’ lives and I hope that I was able to inspire them to make that same impac,”she said.

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