Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Watching the news, it seems like ethnic divides are ever-deepening. But how can we solve these complicated problems when each side lives in fear of the other? The answer is evident, argues Syrian-American poet Amal Kassir – it starts with, “What’s your name?”
Amal Kassir is a Syrian-American spoken word poet and artist. Born in Denver, Colorado, she comes from a "dinner table of tabouleh and meat loaf, Syrian father and Iowan-German mother, best meals of both worlds."
As a university student, Kassir designed her own undergraduate degree called ‘Community Programming in Social Psychology’ which combines child psychology, writing, and education to develop curricula for refugee children with trauma. A strong proponent for education, she is dedicated to building individual agency particularly in under-served and vulnerable populations by emphasizing the power of writing.
Kassir has performed in 10 countries and over 45 cities and has conducted workshops, given lectures, and recited her poetry in venues ranging from youth prisons to orphanages, from refugee camps to universities, from churches to community spaces. She hopes to take part in the global effort for literacy in war-struck areas and refugee camps and runs a project called More than Metaphors that focuses on the education initiative for displaced Syrian children.
Recipient of multiple awards including as winner of the Grand Slam at the Brave New Voices International Youth Competition, Kassir has performed on the TED stage and been featured on the PBS NewsHour.
When she is not studying or performing, she waitresses at her family’s Syrian restaurant in Denver.