Past Events

Syria’s Ongoing Crisis: The Health and Humanitarian Impacts of the War on Its Refugees

Network 20/20′ Panel – Syria’s Ongoing Crisis

September 27, 2017

The Syrian crisis continues to grow in its 7th year with no imminent solution at hand. The needs of the refugees and those internally displaced have moved beyond the emergency phase. Today, mental health, trauma, and public health support remain a pivotal challenge for the entire Syrian population both in the neighboring host countries but also inside their war-torn country.Network 20/20 invites you to a panel that will analyze this epidemic, its relation to counter extremism efforts, and strategic ways to provide security for the Syrian people.

Tara Kangarlou
 is an award-winning journalist who has written, reported, and produced for CNN, CNN International, NBC Los Angeles, Al Jazeera America, Huffington Post and Al Monitor. In 2015, she led Al Jazeera America’s unprecedented access to report and produce from Iran during the historic nuclear negotiations. In recent years, she has spent time on the ground in conflict zones and in the Syrian border regions of Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey. Having witnessed the issues that impact the Syrian people, the host countries, and the region at large, led Ms. Kangarlou to move beyond storytelling and reporting on the issues and found Art of Hope Inc. an NYC-based non-profit, non-governmental, non-religious 501(c)3 charitable organization that provides alternative educational and vocational training for Syrian refugees in an effort to address the massive mental-health and psychological challenges among the refugee population. Ms. Kangarlou was born and raised in Tehran, Iran and moved to the States in her late teens. As a journalist and philanthropist, she aspires to objectively and openly report and tell the stories that shape, influence, and impact people’s lives around the world. Ms. Kangarlou is a proud graduate of UCLA, B.A. and USC, M.A., she is currently based in New York City. Tara is a member of Network 20/20.

Dr. Zaher Sahloul returned recently from a medical mission to Yemen, is a Critical Care specialist serving patients in the Chicagoland area. Between 2011 and 2015, Dr. Sahloul led the transformation of the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) into a globally-recognized medical NGO representing the Syrian American diaspora, serving hundreds of thousands of Syrian patients and refugees. He co-founded SAMS Global Response to address the refugee crisis in Europe, as well as the American Relief Coalition for Syria (ARCS), a coalition of 14 humanitarian organizations.
Dr. Sahloul is a leading advocate in the Syrian humanitarian crisis and the role of diaspora communities among medical circles, the media, the U.S. government, and the UN. He has authored many articles on the impact of the war in Syria on public health, healthcare workers, civilians, and children, and has been published in outlets such as the New York Times, CNN, WP, WSJ, Foreign Policythe Chicago Tribune, and the Guardian.
In 2016, Dr. Sahloul was awarded Chicagoan of the Year for risking his life in medical missions to besieged Aleppo. He has received several awards, including the Dr. Edward K. Barsky Award by the American Public Health Association, the Robert H. Kirschner Award for Global Activism by the Heartland Alliance Marjorie Kovler Center, and the Commitment to Change Award by the National Immigration Justice Center.
With several fellow humanitarians, he co-founded MedGlobal, a medical relief NGO to dedicated to providing sustainable, innovative solutions to victims of global crises incorporating technology, cultural sensitivity, and interfaith collaboration.
He co-chairs the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition, and sits on the advisory boards of the Syrian Community Network (SCN) and the Center for Public Health and Human Rights at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.
He is also an Associate Clinical Professor at the University of Illinois in Chicago. Dr. Sahloul is married with three children.

Paola Emerson is the Operations Chief for the Middle East and North Africa Section of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in NY since 2015. She is responsible for providing strategic and operational support to Syria (including Syria, Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon hubs and the RHC Syria office), Yemen (including Amman and Ryadh hubs), Iraq, oPt and Libya and the Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa to ensure effective humanitarian response. From mid 2014 to mid 2015, as Deputy Head of OCHA in Juba, South Sudan, Ms Emerson coordinated humanitarian assistance to people in need as result of the civil conflict that erupted in December 2013. As Head of the Resident Coordinator Office in Yemen, Ms Emerson provided strategic advice to the head of the UN in Yemen on development and transition issues. Ms. Emerson received her Master’s Degree in Contemporary Arab Studies from Georgetown University and her Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Near East Studies from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

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