Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Global Refugee Crisis, Part 1: A True Account of a Syrian Refugee’s Journey to Safety (Free Teleconference)

A non-CLE program proudly presented by the ABA Section of International Law

Sponsored by the American Bar Association Section of International Law, International Human Rights Committee 

Co-Sponsored by the Section of International Law Middle East Committee, International Refugee Law Committee, and UN & Int'l Organizations Committee 

Friday, December 4, 2015 
12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. EST 
★ Teleconference Only Event  

The situation is Syria has reached critical mass. An estimated 240,000 Syrian, including 12,000 children, have been killed since the outbreak of civil war in March 2011. Over 1 million have been wounded or permanently disabled. Approximately 12 million Syrians have fled their homes, taking refuge in neighboring countries or within Syria itself. 

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), over 4 million have fled to Syria's immediate neighbors Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. Another 6.5 million are internally displaced within Syria. More than 400,000 Syrians have risked their lives this year to travel to Europe, but under 150,000 Syrians have declared asylum in the European Union. Germany has pledged 35,000 places (75% of total EU) for Syrian refugees through its humanitarian programme. 

Excluding Germany and Sweden, which received 47% of the EU asylum application, the remaining 26 EU countries have pledged around 8,700 (approx 0.2%) resettlement places for Syrian refugees. Gulf countries (i.e, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Bahrain) and high income countries (i.e., Russia, Japan, Singapore and South Korea) have offered zero resettlement places to Syrian refugees. 

UNPRECEDENTED - The Global Refugee Crisis, Part 1: A True Account of a Syrian Refugee’s Journey to Safety is the first teleconference in a 2-part series aimed at addressing the unprecedented refugee crisis in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. Part 1 provides an intimate look at the unfolding tragedy, as told by two Syrian-born men. 

Joseph F. Jacob (“Joseph 1”) is a Syrian-born American lawyer in New York. He will begin the discussion with a brief historical account of the events that led up to the current war and unprecedented refugee crisis. This will be followed a more personal account of how Mr. Jacob’s helped his eight member family escaped war-torn Syria and what steps he took to secure their safe arrival in America. 

Joseph Khoury (“Joseph 2”) is a 50 year old Syrian who lived with his family, his wife, a college age boy and a middle school age girl in Aleppo, Syria until 2014. He will detail his harrowing escape from Syria and arrival to Greece, where he was detained for several weeks before being allowed to complete his journey and reunite with his family in Germany. 

There will be a brief Q&A session after both gentlemen speak. Attendees may submit questions using one of the options below. 

  • Email at 
  • Twitter via direct message (@ABAIHRC) 
  • Twitter hashtag: #ABASyriansSpeak 
Please indicate if your question is for Joseph 1, Joseph 2, or both speakers.


  • Joseph Jacob, Section of International Law Middle East Committee Vice Chair 
  • Joseph Khoury, Syrian refugee/ Invited Guest 


  • Stephanie Williams, Section of International Law Human Rights Committee Co-Chair

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