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Art, History, Experience: A Panel on Displacement (Friends, Peace and Sanctuary)


Mar 28, 2019
04:30 PM until 07:00 PM



3/28 Art, History, Experience: A Panel on Displacement | 4:30-6:00 pm at Swarthmore College, Lang Performing Arts Center (LPAC) - Cinema | Reception to Follow from 6:00-7:00 pm | Open to the public. Questions? Contact

The United Nations High Commission on Refugees estimates that there are currently more than 65.6 million forcibly displaced persons throughout the globe—the largest number since the second world war.

How can academic, artistic, and situated knowledges work together to address issues of displacement?

Hear from four esteemed panelists—each with different types of expertise on the topic of displacement—discuss the potential of a multifaceted approach to addressing this pressing issue. Panelists will address such questions as: How can making art increase a sense of belonging? How might colleges and resettlement organizations work together to increase a sense of belonging for newcomers? How might experiencing art made by resettled individuals help to combat negative stereotypes and increase empathy? How does elucidating (or illustrating) historical displacement impact our understanding of this moment?

This panel is part of Friends, Peace, and Sanctuary, a two-year project connecting historical and contemporary stories of refuge through the arts. The project culminates in exhibitions showcasing work by commissioned book artists and Syrian and Iraqi project collaborators.

Moderated by Nora Elmarzouky, the panel includes:

  • Erik Ruin, Artist with Friends, Peace & Sanctuary
  • Osman Balkan, Visiting Assistant Professor at Swarthmore College
  • Rona Buchalter, Director of Refugee Programming and Planning from HIAS Pennsylvania
  • Yaroub Al-Obaidi, Community Liaison Friends, Peace & Sanctuary

Following our conversation, please join us for a reception with a variety of Syrian sambousek, stuffed grape leaves, and more made by project collaborators. Opening events continue on Friday with the exhibition opening and a communal dinner (free but tickets required), and on Saturday with an an all-day celebration (12-6PM).

Friends, Peace & Sanctuary is a collaboration between Swarthmore College Libraries and the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility. Major support for Friends, Peace, and Sanctuary has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, with additional support from Swarthmore’s Cooper Series, Swarthmore College Libraries, the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Learn more about the project at




View map Swarthmore College, Lang Performing Arts Center
500 College Avenue
Swarthmore, PA

Additional Information

Contact name

Nora Elmarzouky

Contact email



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