1
Jonathan Makkonen, the director for Central Europe of Youth and Students for Peace
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Zana, a refugee from Syria, talks about his new life in Germany.
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Zana teaches the participants a Syrian traditional dance.

Giessen, Germany—A refugee from Syria described escaping from his war-torn homeland and his new life in Germany.

The meeting was the latest in the “International Café” events that are organized regularly by the UPF chapter in the city of Giessen.

The focus of the May 18, 2019, event was Syria. To start off with, two videos were presented, giving an impression of the country: its people, interesting history and cultural wealth.

For many years Syria has been devastated by war and terror, defining the fate of countless of its inhabitants.

Zana, who escaped from Syria, was ready to tell us his story. It was riveting and exciting to hear how he made this risky move, making a new start in Germany, always looking forward.

With this positive and proactive attitude, he learned the German language and currently is continuing his education. But it is not only a story about him alone: He is involved in UPF and also in Youth and Students for Peace (YSP), an affiliated organization, and in this way wishes to contribute toward world peace. He recently participated with many others in an interfaith workshop that was organized by YSP.

His story is hopeful and encouraging and demonstrates one thing: Suffering and want can lead to bitterness and hatred; however, they also can be catalysts to release positive forces that contribute to building a better world.

Zana then patiently addressed the many interesting questions posed by the audience.

A fun game and Syrian dance, enjoyed by all, rounded off this event.

(Translated from German by Catriona Valenta.)

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