NYU Washington, DC and the Turkish Heritage Organization presented a panel of experts and professionals with first-hand experience in Turkey and Syria to discuss the current refugee crisis. THO also sponsored a photo exhibit by Turkish American Sinem Oguz, titled "On the Border."
Turkey welcomed more than 2.7 million Syrian refugees since 2011, and spent over $12.5 billion on relief and support efforts for the refugees. As the host country with the largest number of Syrian refugees, Turkey plays an integral part in the current crisis. This year's major world summits, United Nations General Assembly, the inaugural World Humanitarian Summit and G20, have all called for greater action for humanitarian aid to refugees and migrants around the world.
Brian Salant is a research assistant in the International Program at the Migration Policy Institute. His work has focused on portability of qualifications across regional blocs, as well as refugee protection frameworks and poverty alleviation strategies for forced migrants.
Prior to joining MPI, Mr. Salant interned at the Public Diplomacy Section of the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, where he coordinated youth outreach programs, and later at the Meridian International Center in Washington, D.C. designing exchange programs to nurture social entrepreneurship among youth leaders from around the world.
Mr. Salant holds a master’s degree in European and Russian studies from Yale University, a master’s in EU studies from the University of Ghent, and a bachelor of arts from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Berkin Sener is a masters student at Johns Hopkins SAIS, and a board member of Youth Deal Cooperative, an NGO in Turkey. The Youth Deal Cooperative develops and delivers multi-stakeholder projects to encourage labour market entry and integration of youth.
Dr. Selcuk Sirin is a J. K. Javits Professor at NYU Steinhardt in the Applied Psychology department. Having earned his PhD in Applied Developmental & Educational Psychology from Boston College in 2003, Selcuk uses empirical research methods to better understand the needs of children and families. His research focuses on the lives of immigrant and minority children and ways to increase professionals' abilities to better address their needs.
He is the recipient of the Young Scholar Award from the Foundation for Child Development and the Review of Research Award from the American Educational Research Association. He has worked with UNESCO and Save the Children, served on several policy committees, and had work featured in top journals such as Child Development, Developmental Psychology, Review of Educational Research, and Pediatrics.
Dr. Basel Termanini serves as the Vice President of the Syrian American Medical Society and member of the Turkey regional committee, which oversee all SAMS medical relief projects in northern Syria. He has visited Syria seven times since 2013, with the most recent visit being in late October 2016. He also sponsors a gifted and talented school in Syria, and mobilized the community in Pittsburgh to sponsor 50 orphans in Syria. Born and raised in Aleppo, Dr. Termanini currently resides in Pittsburgh, where he continues to work as a full-time gastroenterologist.
Michael Leonetti is a sophomore in the Global Liberal Studies program at NYU with a concentration in Politics, Rights, and Development. He spent his freshman year as a student at NYU Washington, D.C. and will spend his junior year at NYU Madrid. As a volunteer with Lighthouse Refugee Relief in Lesvos, Greece, Michael assisted in the operation of a transit camp for refugees arriving from Turkey. After returning to New York, he founded and currently leads the on-campus chapter of the International Rescue Committee. A Gallatin Global Human Rights Fellow for 2016, Michael will return to Greece to volunteer in and conduct research on several new and innovative models of refugee camps. He will continue researching the Mediterranean refugee crisis in Madrid next year. He is also co-president of inQueery, a cultural exploration club for LGBTQ+ Liberal Studies students in New York.