Stanford researcher shares her experiences at the Syrian border

Laila Soudi
(Courtesy of Laila Soudi)

This summer, LAILA SOUDI, the project lead for the Stanford Refugee Research Project, traveled the Syrian border in Jordan and Lebanon to examine opportunities for Stanford University to help the ongoing, global displacement crisis.

Soudi, who grew up in Jordan with a Syrian father and a Palestinian refugee mother, has shared her journey in a series of posts for the School of Medicine’s blog, Scope.

The “Life on the border” series includes these five blog posts:

  • Stanford researcher seeks to help Syrian refugees – Soudi introduces her story about visiting a refugee camp when she was only 11 years old and how she hopes for a more secure world.
  • Struggling to survive in Jordan – On her first day in Jordan, Soudi meets Ahmad, a 12-year-old boy living on the streets in a makeshift tent who survives by rummaging through the trash.
  • Struggle, loss and desperation – Soudi shares her experiences meeting Hayat, who was left with a traumatic brain injury and an inability to speak after assailants invaded her home and killed her family.
  • Not simply help but empower – In this post, Soudi emphasizes the importance of looking beyond the label of refugee.
  • Back at Stanford, ready to pitch in – Soudi’s final post reflects on the people she met and talks about how she and her team at Stanford plan to facilitate more opportunities for Stanford students, faculty and staff to get involved directly and to help empower refugees in the next few months. She writes: “We are committed to leverage our resources to help refugees. We are committed to recognize our shared humanity and to vow to do better by each other.”

The Stanford Refugee Research Project explores how Stanford can best engage to address the refugee crisis in the Middle East. Under the leadership of DR. MICHELE BARRY at the Stanford Center for Innovation in Global Health, this 18-month project sees an opportunity to uncover all faculty, staff and students working on refugee projects, connect them and identify opportunities to collaborate and contribute meaningfully to the Syrian refugee crisis.