Syrian Refugee Crisis – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Syrian Refugee Crisis

PeaceActionHWS will hold a panel discussion on the local and national efforts being implemented to address the Syrian refugee crisis on Thursday, Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. in the Sanford Room of the Warren Hunting Smith Library. The discussion, “From Local to Global Leaders: Understanding the Impact of the Syrian Refugee Crisis,” will include insight from Judy Bello, an activist with the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars, Professor of Philosophy Steven Lee, and Professor of History Derek Linton.

“Discussing important issues like this is an important step in activism,” says PeaceActionHWS President Colleen Moore ’16, who will serve as panel moderator. “It’s such a complex situation; I hope we’re able to break down some of the barriers to learning about it for students. Our main goal is to spur more conversation on campus and humanize the situation to encourage students to get involved with local efforts.”

Lee, whose research focuses on the ethics of war, legal paternalism and citizenship, will open the discussion with a conversation about human rights. Linton will provide his perspective on the role of Europe in the crisis as thousands of Syrian refugees declare asylum in the European Union.

Bello will discuss her time in Syria as an observer of the country’s presidential election in 2014, and her work with the Upstate Coalition concerning the use of the MQ-9 Reaper drone in Afghanistan piloted from Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse, N.Y.  She also serves on the administrative committee of the United National Antiwar Coalition, and is active with local peace and justice organizations in Rochester, N.Y. Bello has visited Iran twice with Fellowship of Reconciliation Peace Delegations, and spent a month in the Kurdish city of Sulaymaniyah in 2009, as well as met with drone victims in Pakistan with the CodePink Peace Delegation in 2012. 

Through the discussion, Moore says she hopes students will recognize that the refugee crisis impacts global and local communities. Part of the discussion will focus on the local effort of Father Gregory-Lazarus Murphy of St. Michael’s Orthodox Church to resettle Syrian refugees in Geneva, N.Y.  Murphy is unable to attend the discussion.

“I’m hoping that students gain enough knowledge that they want to do something more about it,” says Moore. “Even if it just leads to smaller discussions on campus or in friend groups, it all makes a difference in addressing such an important issue.”

PeaceActionHWS Vice President Dominique DeRubeis ’18 agrees.  “This forum is a really good way to help the community learn about issues that are affecting all of us on a global scale.”

The discussion is co-sponsored by PeaceActionHWS, the Centennial Center for Leadership, and Intercultural Affairs. Pizza and beverages will be provided.