Sarah Gharib, our
As is so often the case in the media, we witness the Syrian refugee crisis through an extremely politicised lens, in which human beings become nothing but numbers. However, on Saturday the 23rd of April, from 3pm – 7pm, Noor Charity Festival will be held in St Mary’s Quad, and they wish to change that through focusing on dance, visual arts, music and cuisine – all things that make the Middle East so diverse and fascinating.
Noor, a cross-society event, sees the blending of student talent with a Middle Eastern theme. It aims to build upon the huge success of the academic discussions at St Andrews for Syria last semester by shining a different light on the Syrian refugee issue. There are a number of societies that are working on this project together: the Fellowship of St Andrews, British Red Cross Society, Refugee Action St Andrews (RASA), Middle East Society and Amina Society. Having the insight of such a diverse range of student societies allows them to incorporate so many different aspects and offerings into the festival.
With the aim of giving you a true flavour of some of the Middle East’s cultural aspects, attendees can expect access to traditional Arabic food, dance, visual arts, live music and a DJ throughout the afternoon. However, along with the food, art and entertainment, the Noor Charity Festival will stay very true to its charitable cause — supporting the Dundee Refugee Support project with the proceeds from the event, while offering an opportunity to discuss and learn more about the humanitarian crises affecting the region. Alasdair Gordon-Gibson, a PhD student at St Andrews, will be giving a talk to contextualise the event – he has worked with the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (ICRC) in conflicts across the world. Throughout his career with the ICRC which spanned nearly twenty years, his primary focuses were planning and managing humanitarian programmes in emergency relief and economic security.
It is within this framework that they hope to raise as much money for Dundee Refugee Support – with a goal of 1000 pounds – while highlighting the importance of unity, humanity and tolerance in difficult times such as these.