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2017 04 17

2017 04 07

Events organized and moderated as president of MEDINA at the Harvard Graduate School of Design:

Karam Foundation 

A conversation with Lina Attar 

Ten years ago, Karam Foundation started with a food drive on the south-side of Chicago. Today, their impact expands across Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan, building a better future for thousands of Syrian families. Karam foundation develops Innovative Education programs for Syrian refugee youth, distributes Smart Aid to Syrian families, and funds Sustainable Development projects. 

Lina Sergie Attar is the co-founder and CEO of Karam Foundation. She is a Syrian-American architect and writer from Aleppo. She co-developed Karam’s Innovative Education initiatives: the creative therapy and holistic wellness program for displaced Syrian children and the Karam Leadership Program, an entrepreneurship and technology program for displaced Syrian youth. 

The event was co-sponsored by The Boston Society of Architects

Evoking the Burdens of History 

A conversation with Lamia Joreige


Born in Lebanon in 1972, Lamia Joreige is a visual artist and filmmaker who lives and works in Beirut. She earned her BFA in Painting and Filmmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, in 1995. She uses archival documents and elements of fiction to reflect on history and its possible narration, and the relation between individual stories and collective memory. Her practice is rooted in her country’s experience and explores the possibilities of representation of the Lebanese wars and their aftermath, particularly in Beirut, a city at the center of her imagery. Lamia Joreige’s work essentially centers on Time: the recording of time, of its trace and its effects on us, underlining the process of memory and the impossibility of accessing a complete narrative.

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2017 03 03

Polypod: Multidisciplinary Design 

A conversation with Hani Asfour 

Set in the rich urban culture of Hamra, Beirut, Polypod, a multidisciplinary firm is committed to raising design discourse in its community. Known for its collaborative and creative approach, Polypod works on projects that combine various fields of design including architecture, master planning, interior design, landscape design, branding, web design, graphics, and information design for local and international clients. Polypod’s studio is also home to Polypodium, a space where local and global luminaries are invited in order to bring people together to discuss design ideas and processes. 

Hani Asfour is an MIT and Harvard-trained architect who applies design thinking methods as a creative strategic thought leader with over twenty years of experience. He combines a mix of design expertise with entrepreneurship skills, academic depth and hands-on experience. Hani is a founding partner of Polypod and is currently the President of the Beirut Creative Cluster and Adjunct Faculty at LAU, teaching in the departments of Architecture and Foundation Studies. 

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2017 02 03

Bridging a Divided 


A conversation with Lebanon’s culinary activist Kamal Mouzawak 

In a country that has been divided along ethnic and religious lines for decades, the common act of enjoying the same food begins to bridge cultural and social, rural and urban barriers and unite communities. Often characterized as a “culinary activist,” Kamal Mouzawak is a chef, a marketplace founder, an entrepreneur and a spokesman for Lebanese cuisine known around the world. Kamal created the first farmers’ market in Beirut, Souk el-Tayeb, which has grown into a food movement, expanding its operations to include educational programs in local schools and food festivals across the country to celebrate Lebanon’s culinary heritage.

The event was co-hosted by Harvard Mellon Urban Initiative 

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2016 11 15 

Citizen Science in Refugee Camps

A conversation with Claudia Martinez Mansell + Amal, Faris and Mustapha 


The community of inhabitants at Bourj Al Shamali, a Palestinian

refugee camp in Lebanon, have been working to map and analyze their overbuilt, unhealthy environment, with the goal of eventually using this information to plan and advocate for future improvement initiatives.

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2016 10 24

Architecture and Participation in Palestinian Refugee Camps

A conversation with Sandi Hilal 


A conversation with Sandi Hilal –  co director and founding member of Campus in Camps and Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency (DAAR) with the goal of addressing the needed spatial interventions in Palestinian refugee camps. Hilal's work has focused on the architecture of exile and the struggle for justice and equality.


Sandi has coauthored the book Architecture After Revolution, and her practice has been awarded the Price Claus Prize for Architecture, shortlisted for Visible Award, the Curry Stone Design Price, the New School’s Vera List Center Prize for Art and Politics, the Anni and Heinrich Sussmann Artist Award, the Chrnikov Prize and recipient of the Foundation for Art Initiatives grant.

2016 03 25

Scales of Syria Symposium 


As the Syrian civil war continues to unfold without resolution, the refugee crisis it has fueled has had a dramatic impact on most of the world today. Populations are fleeing the fierce fighting to countries as close as Jordan, Lebanon, and Greece and as far as Germany, Finland, and Canada. In view of the unprecedented scale of exodus—now surpassing that of Europe during and in the wake of World War II—this symposium will offer a set of reflections on displacement from local to remote territories. While the Syrian diaspora has come to be redefined in global terms, Syria’s own future remains intimately connected to its countryside. What does it mean to re-establish roots in this context? How do we grapple with the complex ways in which displacement has affected, and been affected by, the Syrian countryside? As a potential ground for refuge, one of the most significant aspects of that countryside, which composes the vast majority of Syrian land, is that it remains unexplored: agriculture, technology, archaeology, and infrastructure are all waiting to happen.

Organized by Medina GSD and supported by the Aga Khan Program, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, and the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.


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