Webinar- News Update: The Syrian Refugee Crisis

Thursday, October 08, 2015, 2:00pm – 3:00pm EDT

After years of suffering under Bashar al-Assad’s dictatorship, a Syrian resistance movement arose in 2011 as part of the Arab Spring. Four years later, the complex and multilateral war between Assad, ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra, the Free Syrian Army, and countless splinter groups has caused a refugee crisis that amounts to an international catastrophe. Over 250,000 civilians have been killed, over half of the Syrian population has been displaced by the ongoing civil war, and refugees are desperately seeking new homes in nearby countries such as Lebanon and Jordan, and farther destinations such as the European Union.

At JFN we value responsibility, tikkun olam, and we face the many pressing problems that exist in the world as a united front. We are committed to helping funders in determining the responsible, ethical use of philanthropic dollars towards positive change.

Join us for a webinar with Shadi Martini, a displaced Syrian businessman turned refugee and activist, and Dr. Georgette Bennett, President of the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding and founder of the Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees. MFA is an interfaith response to this humanitarian refugee crisis. Its mission is to mobilize multi-faith support for displaced people while raising awareness of the situation and pressing for actions that will lead toward stability for Syrians and the region. In this webinar we will learn about the current state of organizing for relief on behalf of Syrian refugees seeking new lives and homes in Europe.

Shadi Martini: As it has with so many other victims of this crisis, the Syrian war turned businessman Shadi Martini into a refugee, an activist, and an advocate for greater cooperation across faith and cultural lines.  When the Assad regime cracked down on protesters in March 2011, Mr. Martini and his comrades secretly started aiding wounded and ill civilians. This covert network was eventually discovered in mid-2012, forcing Mr. Martini to flee his country. Mr. Martini went to a neighboring country to organize assistance for Syrian refugees. While his work in the Middle East continues, he is also coordinating a major relief effort on behalf of Syrian refugees flooding into Europe. For some years, he has also partnered with Jewish organizations in the U.S. and abroad, which involved him in multifaith relief work.

Dr. Georgette Bennett, President of the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, is a sociologist by training who has spent the past 22 years advancing interreligious relations. She founded the Tanenbaum Center in 1992 and under her leadership it has become the go-to organization for practical, cutting-edge programs that combat religion-based hatred and misunderstanding in schools, workplaces, areas of armed conflict, and healthcare settings.

In 2013, Dr. Bennett founded the Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees, utilizing the moral authority of religious leaders to mobilize support for alleviating the suffering of Syria's war victims. Today, there are forty-three organizations in the Alliance. Dr. Bennett is also a founding Board member of the Global Covenant on Religion, where she serves as Treasurer. In addition, she serves in the U.S. State Department Religion and Foreign Policy initiative’s working group on conflict mitigation. Most recently, Dr. Bennett spearheaded a Christian-Jewish initiative that opposes the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and Africa, and antisemitism in Europe and elsewhere.

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