A young Iraqi refugee– making a difference!

Helena Cobban Blog, Iraq, Podcasts, Refugees, Syria

What is it like to be a refugee, forced out of one’s homeland by intense conflict? What does the future hold for young people facing this fate?

In late May, I had the privilege of meeting many such young people, Iraqis who had fled their homes and homeland because of the intense inter-communal violence stirred up during the U.S. occupation of their country. The ones I met were relatively fortunate, because they had been able to secure fine college educations in the United States, thanks to a visionary project launched in Damascus, Syria, in 2006, called the Iraqi Student Project, ISP.

I was at a reunion that some forty graduates of the ISP program held, in Chicago. I took along my microphone and was able to record interviews with several of these fine young people. Now, I have just put the first of those interviews up onto the Just World podcast series. It’s the interview with Taif Jany that’s at the top of our Podcast page, here.

Near the beginning of the podcast, Taif tells me he’s a member of one of Iraq’s many small, historic religious minorities, the Mandaeans. Like all Iraq’s minorities, the Mandaeans are under great threat in the midst of the sharp sectarian conflict the country has continued to experience.

If, like me, you don’t know much about the Mandaeans, you can find out more at this Wikipedia page.

By the way, while you’re over at the JWE Podcast page, do listen to the interview I conducted with Rabbi Brant Rosen a couple of weeks ago. You’ll find that at the Podcast page, too.