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Rethink Rebuild Society

On Remembering and Forgetting

In this panel discussion Rasha Yousef and Bassel Hariri discuss how people reconstruct a vanishing past after 11 years of mass destruction of the built environment, and radical transformation of their way of living

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On Remembering and Forgetting

Time & Location

Mar 20, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM GMT

Rethink Rebuild Society , Unit 7, Longsight Business Park, Hamilton Rd, Longsight, Manchester M13 0PD, UK

About the Event

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For over a decade the war in Syria has displaced over 13.5 million people from their homes, and razed entire neighbourhoods to the ground. With this mass destruction of the built environment, and the radical transformation of people’s way of living, how can we reconstruct a vanishing past?

Artists, scholars, writers and activists have contributed to a new wave of scholarship, as well as artistic and cultural initiatives to rebuild the memory of Syria. From their exile, grassroots initiatives have helped many Syrians both in Syria and in exile to raise questions about remembering and forgetting.

Celebrating Syria is excited to invite you to this panel, On Remembering and Forgetting, with Rasha Yousef and Bassel Hariri, chaired by Julia Rampen. We hope you can join us to learn more, put questions to the panellists and take part in the discussion.

Rasha Youssef is a Global Migration and Social Justice graduate and a refugee resettlement worker. She started her professional life as an archaeologist but later decided that her mission is to contribute to changing the stereotypical image of what a refugee actually is. She has been involved in advocacy and awareness raising for the last 10 years.

Rasha created the Syrian Time Capsule project, as part of her dissertation. In it she collected stories about items that travelled thousands of miles, often in pockets or bags of refugees on the move, to then arrive in a new land to a place that might be called home.

Bassel Hariri is a Syrian lawyer, musician, and social entrepreneur born and raised in Syria. Having studied law at the University of Aleppo, Syria, in 2019 he received the Chevening Award to pursue an MSc in Migration and Development at SOAS University of London.

Bassel believes in people-focused development. After spending 6 years working on political and humanitarian programs, he shifted towards social and cultural entrepreneurship. Through Aleppo Antika, a social platform he started in 2013, he has been using collective memory as a compass towards collective behaviour which can lead to various forms of social cohesion. Antika works on offering people, both in Syria and in the diaspora, different avenues for expression to help them explore their identity out of belief that no healthy national identity can be shaped out of corrupt or fragile regional identities.

Julia Rampen is a journalist, editor and communications professional. She travelled to Syria in 2010, and in 2013 co-founded the blog Qisetna: Talking Syria, which collected and shared stories by Syrian writers. Since 2015, she has campaigned for the UK government to protect and support Syrian refugees. In 2021, after working at titles such as the New Statesman and The Mirror, she joined IMIX, a strategic communications agency, where she works with many Syrian individuals and groups to improve the narrative around refugees in the UK media.

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