2023 has been an extraordinary year of milestones and magnified impact for Syrian children and youth in the Middle East and globally — In reflecting on our successes despite considerable challenges for the region throughout the year, we are deeply grateful to you for powering us with your commitment, excitement, and loyal support – thank you for being part of the Jusoor family and for investing in the next generation of Syrian youth!
Looking forward to the ambitious goal we are working towards Impacting 1,000,000 Syrian Lives by 2031. Every year we come closer to reaching this goal, thanks to you.
2023 started with the earthquakes that devastated the Syrian community in Türkiye and North of Syria. In response, we teamed up with Karam Foundation in Türkiye to provide life-saving relief and ensure continued education– with your help, we raised $250,000 to distribute thousands of nourishing Suhour and Iftar meals between February 23 and March 11 and provide 90 students’ emergency stipends covering basic needs (food, essential supplies, and accommodation) who were then able to continue their studies.
In better news, our Refugee Education Program Head Suha Tutunji was honored with The Ginetta Sagan Award by Amnesty International. This prestigious award recognizes and assists women who are working to protect the liberty and lives of women and children in areas where human rights violations are widespread. We are truly proud to have Suha at the helm of our frontline teaching teams!
Spring for Jusoor came with wonderful news from our Scholarships alumni: Nawara Alaboud, a graduate of our Bard College Berlin’s scholarship, was awarded the Rhodes Scholarship to pursue her Master’s degree in Politics and International Relations at Oxford University while Hadi Althib, a graduate from University of Essex who received the Jusoor Hardship Fund Scholarship for his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, was awarded the Saïd Foundation Scholarship to pursue his Master’s degree in Childhood Studies at the University of Essex in the UK. We are thrilled for our alumni who continue to excel in their education and gain well-deserved recognition by other prestigious institutions globally, reminding us of the long-term impact of our work in Bridging the Opportunity Gap.
Our 2023 Ramadan campaign, “Light the Way” was focused on securing education for the children at our Jurahiya Education Center in the refugee camp in Bekaa, Lebanon. With your support, we managed to raise enough to cover the salaries of 12 teachers and staff members for most of the school year!
Summer brought amazing achievements from our Entrepreneurship Program team, who concluded their biggest-ever Startup Roadshow with a bang at our “Demo Days” in Amman and Beirut. After several months, ten of our 363 Syrian entrepreneurs who received invaluable mentoring and advanced training from our intensive curriculum were shortlisted as finalists to pitch their projects “shark-tank style” to a panel of judges, with the top three teams winning cash prizes. Congratulations to the winning teams for their courage and innovation in launching their own businesses in the Middle East!
In June, Jusoor hosted two expert panels on ‘Youth Education and Employment in Crisis-Affected Contexts’ in collaboration with the Asfari Foundation, presenting for the first time at the European Union’s annual Brussels Conference ‘Supporting the Future of Syrian and the region’ to an engaged audience. Featured speakers included Ameer Jawad (TalPods) and Yannick Du Pont (SPARK), addressing tough questions about the role of development aid in creating equity in an evolving world of education and technology, and sparking innovative ideas for concretely addressing unemployment for refugee youth. Dig into the panel’s findings and recommendations here.
Our Co-Founder and CEO of Intuit Mailchimp Rania Succar received the Outstanding Arab American Philanthropist of the Year Award from the Center for Arab American Philanthropy. “The thing I learned most from Jusoor is that it’s incredibly empowering to recognize that we as individuals can have a significant impact on even the most entrenched problems in our world today. Sometimes those problems can be daunting so it’s natural to feel helpless. But I’ve seen firsthand that when you retain hope and you work together as a team, we can truly accomplish anything,” shared Rania in her acceptance speech. Watch testimonials about Rania here.
Fall was a season full of new launches: strategic conversations with our community and potential employers in the private and public sectors informed the design of our Career Development Program created to connect Syrian and war-displaced talent with income generation, build labor-market needed skill sets, and innovative employment solutions to bridge the opportunity gap. Projects include our Tech Talent Pipeline launched in collaboration with TalPods to fastrack junior engineers to mid-level positions in global tech companies, among other exciting initiatives that maximize career opportunities for Syrians across all socioeconomic groups.
Our Entrepreneurship team also launched Championing Women in Business Leadership, dedicated to tackling the distinct obstacles encountered by Syrian women founders during the initial stages of launching their startups in the MENA region, through customized coaching in leadership, negotiations, and more; expert access to legal counsel, marketing strategists, among others; exposure to investors and women role models, as well as granting $10,000 per startup in seed funding.
Finally, 2023 was both our biggest cohort of students currently studying around the world for High School, Bachelor’s, and Master’s degrees with 36 scholars currently enrolled in various programs; and our biggest scholarship announcement to date with 21 scholarship opportunities (and counting) made available to our community.
As the year draws to an end, we also bid farewell to our Executive Director Grace Atkinson, as she steps down after five impactful years at Jusoor. We will miss her dearly, and truly wish her all the best in her next adventure. Read our interview with Grace as she reflects on her time at Jusoor.
Watch Our 2023 Recap Video
Thank you for your incredible support to Syrian youth through Jusoor this year. Despite the context of sociopolitical violence and multiple global crises, Jusoor has only elevated its impact this year, reaching more children and youth than ever before in 2023. Our Trustee, trauma psychologist, and UN advisor Dr. Alexandra Chen continues to lead and grow our global team and communities as acting Executive Director. Together, we are committed to transforming generations of Syrian talent from the Bekaa to Berlin, from Gaziantep to London, and look forward to continually growing in our thought leadership to elevate their voices worldwide.