Johns Hopkins SAIS to host “Witness: Aleppo Sights, Sounds & Stories from Pre-War Syria,” a panel discussion and exhibition of Syrian music and photography, on Tuesday April 3, 2018

“Witness: Aleppo Sights, Sounds & Stories from Pre-War Syria,” a panel discussion and exhibition of Syrian music and photography, will be hosted at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). The program will include a panel discussion about pre-war Syria, featuring a performance of Syrian music, and will be followed by a reception and exhibition of 56 photographs by Jason Hamacher of Lost Origin Productions. Hamacher gained unprecedented access to the city of Aleppo from 2005 to 2010. His photography captures the ancient religious musical traditions of the Sufi, Armenian, Chaldean, and Syrian communities in Aleppo, as well as scenes of everyday life in Syria before the eruption of civil war.
The discussion and exhibition of Syrian music and photography are presented by the Foreign Policy Institute and Middle East Studies Program at Johns Hopkins SAIS, the Lost Origins Gallery, and One Journey.
Jason Hamacher
Lost Origin Productions
Lina Sergie Attar
Architect and CEO, Karam Foundation
Farrah Hassen
Filmmaker and Writer
Shamila N. Chaudhary
Senior Advisor to the Dean and Fellow, Foreign Policy Institute
Time and Date
4:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday April 3, 2018
Johns Hopkins SAIS
Kenney Auditorium
1740 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
The event is open to the public and media, with registration. Members of the working press can request to cover the event by selecting “Media” on the online registration form. Final media access will be confirmed at least one day prior to the event.
Media Contact
Stacy A. Anderson
Communications Manager
Johns Hopkins SAIS
202.663.5620 office
202.853.7983 mobile
About the Speakers
Jason Hamacher is the founder and director of Lost Origin Productions and the Lost Origins Gallery in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Hamacher has contributed to the international conversation on Syria with frequent television, radio, and speaking appearances on NPR, BBC World Service, Al Jazeera, Voice of America, The Huffington Post, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and at the United Nations. His combination of photography, sound, and personal experience of Syria offer an unparalleled immersion into one of the world’s oldest civilizations. His collection of sound and image were recently added into the permanent collection at The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.
Lina Attar is a Syrian-American architect and writer from Aleppo. She is the co-founder and CEO of Karam Foundation, which she developed in 2007 around the vision of Karam meaning “generosity” in Arabic. Since 2011, she has directed Karam in its focus on the Syrian humanitarian crisis: developing an innovative education program for Syrian refugee youth, distributing aid to Syrian refugee families, and funding projects initiated by Syrians for Syrians. Her articles and expertise have been featured in The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, CNN, NBC News, BBC News, and NPR. She is a graduate of the University of Aleppo, Rhode Island School of Design, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Farrah Hassen is a Syrian-American writer, filmmaker, and soon-to-be attorney. Born in the United Arab Emirates and raised in Southern California, Hassen’s family hails from Aleppo, Syria. She has studied, researched, and written on U.S. Middle East policy, with a focus on U.S.-Syria relations. Her articles have been published by Vice, The Progressive, The Asia Times, The Chicago Sun-Times and Race & Class. Hassen has worked for the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. and The Carter Center in Egypt. She previously served as a political advisor to the Syrian Ambassador to the U.S. at the Embassy of Syria in Washington, D.C. Hassen is the associate producer of the 2004 documentary, “Syria: Between Iraq and a Hard Place” and curator of “Yalla,” a monthly all-vinyl DJ night in Washington, D.C. featuring the sounds of Syria, Iraq, and the Maghreb.
Shamila N. Chaudhary is a Fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute (FPI) and Senior Advisor to Dean Vali Nasr at Johns Hopkins SAIS. Chaudhary is also the Director of The Big Picture forum at FPI, which explores international affairs through arts and culture. She is a foreign policy expert specializing in counterterrorism, national security policy, South Asia, and also writes on American socio-economic and political issues. Her work and expertise have been featured in Foreign Policy, The Washington Post, Politico, The Atlantic, The New York Times, CNN, BBC News America, NPR, and Fox News. Chaudhary served 12 years in the U.S. government, including at the Obama Administration White House National Security Council and on the staff of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She is co-editor of the documentary photography book, UnPresidented: The Inauguration of Donald J. Trump and the People’s Response.
About One Journey
One Journey is a coalition of grassroots organizations, companies, and NGOs that is building a movement to connect and celebrate the “oneness” of humanity by hosting a national event on June 2, 2018 at the Washington National Cathedral of Washington, D.C. to uplift refugee talents and the human spirit of resilience.
About Lost Origin Gallery
Lost Origin Gallery aims to inspire community and understanding by providing a space for gathering, expression, ideas, art, and culture in the historic Mount Pleasant neighborhood of Washington, D.C.
About Johns Hopkins SAIS
A division of Johns Hopkins University, the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) is a global institution that offers students an international perspective on today's critical issues. For nearly 75 years, Johns Hopkins SAIS has produced great leaders, thinkers, and practitioners of international relations. Public leaders and private sector executives alike seek the counsel of the faculty, whose ideas and research inform and shape policy. Johns Hopkins SAIS offers a global perspective across three campus locations: Bologna, Italy; Nanjing, China; and Washington, D.C. The school’s interdisciplinary curriculum is strongly rooted in the study of international economics, international relations, and regional studies, preparing students to address multifaceted challenges in the world today.
For more information, visit or @SAISHopkins

Wednesday, March 28, 2018
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