The Syrian Refugee Crisis: Stories Beyond the Headlines

Since the Syrian Civil War erupted in 2011, millions of Syrians have fled their homes. Due to the scale and complexity of this humanitarian crisis, many of us still struggle to grasp the human reality beyond the news reports.

+Acumen teamed up with the filmmakers from Living on One and 1001 MEDIA to bring you this Discussion Toolkit, which challenges you to go beyond the headlines of the Syrian refugee crisis and learn about some of the individuals and families in the Za’atari refugee camp.  We’ll use the award winning documentary film, Salam Neighbor, as a jumping off point to discuss the complexities of the crisis. Through the film’s immersive storytelling, you’ll meet entrepreneurial and resourceful Syrians who are still determined to pursue lives of dignity. You’ll hear from the refugees themselves and walk away with a greater appreciation of how we are interconnected as neighbors.

When you sign up, you’ll receive a guide to help you host a film screening and facilitate a discussion. You’ll walk away with a better understanding of the organizations you can get involved with and the possibilities for leveraging your own skills to take action. The world has become smaller than ever. We invite you to take a stand with us to help change the dialogue and create a new story.  In the words of the filmmakers: “As neighbors how we choose to respond to this crisis, will affect all of us.”

Our Partner:

+Acumen is thrilled to partner with Living On One and 1001 MEDIA to bring you this Discussion Guide. Living on One is a production and social impact studio that creates films and educational videos to raise awareness and inspire action around pressing global issues. 1001 MEDIA uses the power of film to shine a light on and introduce an element of humanity to a highly publicized and polarizing part of the world where negative images in the media have built damaging and untrue stereotypes of Arabs. They aim to challenge a global audience to re-think their current perceptions of the Arab world by initiating a dialogue between Arabs and the rest of the world and offering a different perspective.

You’ll love this +Acumen Discussion if:

  • You enjoy thoughtful, immersive storytelling which gives you an opportunity to experience the world from another’s viewpoint
  • You are ambivalent about the news coverage and want to make sense of the bigger picture of the refugee crisis
  • You want to bring more awareness of this issue to your community by hosting a discussion

How this Discussion Works:

The power of this experience comes from bringing a group of people together to hear the stories behind the crisis and discussing how we are interconnected as global neighbors. Once you sign up, invite 3-5 other people to join you. They can be friends, family, classmates, colleagues, or neighbors. Each participant needs to  sign up individually in order to receive the Discussion Toolkit. You are welcome to host a screening with a larger audience, but we suggest breaking into smaller groups for the discussion.

Plan a date to host a film screening and discussion. You can meet in-person or online using tools such as Skype and Google Hangouts. The film is available for a small fee on Vimeo, iTunesGoogle Play and Amazon Video. or free on Netflix with your usual subscription. To arrange for a large screening, see the steps here.

Your group session will work best if someone takes the lead as a facilitator. We’ve made this easy by providing a full facilitator’s guide (including email templates to invite your friends) which will be emailed to you upon registration.

Frequently Asked Questions

WILL A CERTIFICATE BE AWARDED UPON COMPLETION OF THE DISCUSSION?

We will provide a Statement of Accomplishment for individuals who complete the discussion and submit the final survey.

IF I TAKE THIS COURSE IN A GROUP, DO MY GROUP MEMBERS NEED TO BE IN THE SAME LOCATION?

We recommend signing up with a group that is all physically located in the same place.  However, you can also watch the film individually and then use tools like Skype or Google Hangout to host your discussion virtually.

HOW MUCH TIME DO I NEED TO DEDICATE TO TAKE THIS DISCUSSION?

The film is 1 hour and 15 minutes long.  You should plan to schedule at least 3 hours after the film for your discussion and completion of activities. In total, we recommend budgeting between 4.5 hours and 5 hours to complete all pre-work, watch the film, and hold the discussion.

WHAT IS THE IDEAL SIZE FOR MY GROUP?

We recommend a group of 2 to 8 individuals. If you are holding a bigger film screening, we recommend breaking out into smaller discussion groups.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO ACCESS THE DISCUSSION TOOLKIT?

The toolkit is free!

ARE THERE ANY PREREQUISITES?

There are no prerequisites.

MORE QUESTIONS?

Please contact courses@plusacumen.org

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