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Refugees, Resiliency, and Public Space: The BSA Syria Initiative

  • COST

    Free and open to the public

What is the place for childhood in the midst of survival?

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 4.8 million Syrians have fled to Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, and Iraq since the Syrian Civil War began five years ago. More than half are under the age of 18. The average stay of refugees is 17 years—an entire childhood. Global displacement has surpassed that witnessed in the wake of World War II, and children remain its most impacted victims.

What roles can design—and designers—play in the face of such overwhelming challenges? What is the agency of architects in establishing stability in these contexts? Can public space support family resiliency? How might this relate to challenges faced by Boston? Please join a panel discussion and reception to launch the BSA Syria Initiative.

The BSA Syria Initiative aims to address a need for child-focused public space facilities to help improve the quality of life for Syrian refugee families in Lebanon, as well as their local counterparts. The initiative will establish a collaboration with design professionals in Beirut and the Boston area, in partnership with the Karam Foundation and Sawa for Development and Aid.

Moderated by Ramzi Naja, adjunct professor, Roger Williams University; MArch II, Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD).

Dr. Atyia Martin, chief resilience officer, Mayor's Office of Resilience and Racial Equity, City of Boston
Majed Abdulsamad, graduate student, Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation
Miho Mazereeuw, assistant professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); director, MIT Urban Risk Lab

Introduction by Nathalie Beauvais Int’l Assoc. AIA, lead climate change projects, Kleinfelder.

Next steps include a design workshop in early 2017.

For more information, contact Gretchen Rabinkin AIA, director of civic initiatives for the BSA/AIA and BSA Foundation.

For those who qualify, 1.5 LU/HSWs are available.