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History & Culture

Life Displaced: Livestream with NaTakallam Conversation Partners

In this Livestream event with NaTakallam, students and teachers heard directly from Conversation Partners (CPs) who have experienced forced displacement. This Livestream encourages students, families, and teachers to think globally and begin to understand the nuances and diversity of the experiences of displaced people.

This session will introduce:

- Personal insights from people coming from diverse cultures, backgrounds, and experiences, especially those who have been
displaced by conflict;
- A brief introduction to forced migration and the movement of people;
- Critical thinking skills to identify, investigate and analyze complex issues;
- Intercultural communication skills and exposure to a few phrases in Arabic and Spanish.

This session mirrored one of NaTakallam’s classroom sessions where teachers can customize based on their curriculum and subject area during the school year. Teachers can use this opportunity to get a glimpse into how NaTakallam sessions might fit into their teaching practice (both virtually and in-person).

Meet three Conversation Partners, Shadi, Ghenwah, and Marianela:

1. Shadi is in his late thirties and is originally from Qamishli, Syria. Due to conflict in his home country, Shadi moved to Erbil, Iraq.
Before working with NaTakallam, he worked as a music teacher and translator. Shadi enjoys reading and listening to music in
his free time.

2. Ghenwah is in her late 20s and is originally from Salamiyyah, Syria. She studied English literature at the University of
Damascus before fleeing to Turkey, where she lives with her husband and two sons. She is currently resuming her studies at
Istanbul University, and in her free time, she loves experimenting in the kitchen.

3. Marianela is originally from Maracaibo, Venezuela. She was living in Merida, Venezuela when she decided to move to San
Jose, Costa Rica due to conflict in her home country. Previously Marianela taught Spanish and owned an adventure tourism
agency. She loves to travel, meet people from different countries, talk, and learn about their culture and interests, so she
loves teaching Spanish via Skype. Marianela is also an ecologist and a passionate recycler.

Audience: Students ages 8+, parents, Social Studies, History and ELA teachers (but all teachers welcome)

Background on NaTakallam Organization: NaTakallam (“we speak” in Arabic) connects refugees and displaced persons with language learners worldwide for online language practice and cross-cultural exchange. Students all over the world work with Conversation Partners (CPs) – all of the individuals displaced by conflict – improving their speaking skills and learning about their partner’s culture and story. Since 2015, NaTakallam has provided over $700,000 USD in disbursements to refugees who at times have no other access to employment due to their legal status and location. Currently, NaTakallam employs CPs from Syria, Iraq, Venezuela, Honduras, Nicaragua, Afghanistan, Iran, Burundi and beyond, offering language learning in Arabic, Persian, French, and Spanish as well as cultural exchange programs in English or in any of the above languages.

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