From Iraq to Seattle: Innovative Approaches to Supporting At-Risk Youth and Underserved Communities
November 8th, 2018 4:30PM -6:30PM
Join Global Classroom for an engaging educator workshop featuring the inspiring work of Husham Al-Thahabi, Director of the Iraqi Safe House, and Mergitu Argo, One America’s South King County Lead Organizer. Learn about the innovative strategies used by Mr. Al Thahabi with at-risk youth in Iraq and his success in keeping children from child labor and violent extremism. A 2014 participant in the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program, Mr. Al-Thahabi will share his creative approach to teaching coping skills during conflict and his efforts to bring civic engagement to youth in Iraq. Ms. Argo, Chair of the East African Advisory Council in Seattle, will share her work and experiences with refugee and immigrant communities in the Puget Sound region over the past 16 years. A well-known advocate for human rights and the underserved, Ms. Argo will discuss her personal experiences and challenges as an immigrant, her role at OneAmerica in addressing the needs of refugee and immigrant youth, and what we can do as educators to support youth in our classrooms and communities.
Educators will receive 3 free clock hours (must complete one hour on-line reflection of the workshop’s themes) and light food.
About the Speakers:
Mr. Husham Al-Thahabi’s participation in the 2014 Special Education IVLP project has been instrumental in helping him protect countless Iraqi orphans from falling victim to child labor abuse, violence, and extremism by providing ideas and inspiration on how to lead these children toward creativity, art, music, and civic engagement instead. Mr. Al-Thahabi credits his IVLP program with helping him embrace innovative approaches to reach at-risk youth through education and therapy as well as sports and cultural programs, all of which have greatly increased the success of his Iraqi Safe House of Innovation. His successful treatment program has helped many orphans realize their artistic and musical talents, and several of his orphans have gone on to win national, regional, and international awards.
Mr. Al-Thahabi also credits his IVLP with helping him learn how to address legal issues regarding the status and treatment of orphans in Iraq. He has been calling on the government to enact child labor laws to protect underage children and provide them safe haven. He continues to try to persuade the Iraqi government to allow private orphanages to care for the many children
who lost their families in the aftermath of ISIS, aware that these children are the most vulnerable targets of terrorists. Through his hard work, he has raised awareness of this neglected segment of society and is focused on lobbying the Ministry of Education to allow orphans to attend public schools, regardless of their age, grade, and lack of national identification papers. As a psychologist, he understands deeply the scars these children suffer from the trauma of war and violence. His program has been adopted in other countries, and he has been invited to talk about his work with orphans in Germany, Finland, Holland, Sweden, Jordan, and the United States.
Mergitu is an Oromo American currently working as an organizer with OneAmerica focused on South King County. She has served the region’s refugee and immigrant communities as a case manager and family advocate for 16 years and as an organizer for the last three years.
She is the chair person for the East African Advisory Council in Seattle. She is a very well-known advocate for human rights and is passionate about working with underserved communities. She is multilingual, speaking English, Amharic, and Oromo languages, and mother of a beautiful girl.
About the Moderator:
Jad Baaklini is a recent transplant from Beirut, Lebanon, working in the field of community development as a communicator and fundraiser. He is passionate about cities and things they make possible, and is a firm believer in grassroots, bottom-up change. In Lebanon, he co-founded the Bus Map Project, a social impact initiative seeking to raise the visibility of the country's informal transit system by challenging stereotypes and producing the first map of the system. He hopes his new life in Seattle will be a launching pad for even greater impact back home.