Monday, January 14, 2008

Noah Merrill to Give Forum on Iraqi Refugee Crisis

The Meeting School is pleased to welcome the public to a forum Saturday the 19th from 9:30 to noon. Noah Merrill, a journalist and former American Friends Service Committee member will be speaking and answering questions about his time spent in Ahman, Jordan working with Iraqi Refugees. Noah returned last February from six weeks of intensive work in Jordan among Iraqi refugees displaced as a result of the ongoing Iraq crisis. During this time, he conducted over 40 in-depth formal interviews with Iraqi families, and met informally with many more. Merrill participated in frequent consultations with staff of international humanitarian organizations, UN staff, and representatives of Iraqi civil society and political groups. In addition to interviews with Iraqi families and conducting an assessment of the humanitarian and political situation in Jordan, Iraq, and the region, he was involved in direct advocacy and service work on behalf of Iraqis facing acute needs in Jordan, including working to secure release from detention, ensure access to needed medical care, report abuses by officials, access information about refugee services, and facilitate border passage into Jordan.
Merrill will speak and answer questions with hopes of bringing the realities of the Iraqi refugee crisis closer to home. He will share the stories of Iraqis forced from their country by violence and chaos, and describe their struggles to survive in an increasingly hostile environment. He will address the regional economic, environmental, and political implications of the growing refugee crisis, its roots in Baghdad and Washington, and the gathering threat posed to the world by the continuing creation and portrayal of the "Sunni-Shiite" conflict. Finally, he will highlight prospects for constructive action to move beyond opposition to US military occupation and toward promoting a lasting, healing peace for Iraq through partnership with Iraqis.

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