Eman Adnan El Assali

Refugee Student, Syria

For most, the summer after the first year at university is a time to unwind, reflect, travel perhaps. For Eman Adnan El Assali, the war in Syria had become too intense for her and her family to remain. Her education was interrupted before it could really begin.

Eman fled to Lebanon. “After a while, I almost forgot about education… I lost hope in being reintegrated in the educational system and I felt alone and unsupported.”

As Eman settled into life as a refugee in a new country, her education began to creep its way back onto her priority list. She considered her home, Syria, and what she could do to support rebuilding it in the future. She decided to apply for an Early Childhood Education scholarship with SPARK at the Center for Continuing Education at the American University in Beirut.

A few tense months went by, before Eman finally received the news that she had been successful and that the path to education was clear for her once more.

Her studies allowed her to pursue her work in psycho-social support of Syrian children and gave her invaluable first-hand experience working directly with young people. Speaking at her graduation ceremony she said: “The scholarship was of a great support to me…With the certificate I have obtained, I will be able to support the future Syrian generations by being as knowledgeable as my teachers and professors.”

Upon reflection on how her life has changed so dramatically in just a few short years, Eman expressed huge thanks to Lebanon and its people. She said: “Lebanon has been our shelter, our second home. I’m from Syria but I have the feeling of belonging to Lebanon because of this kindness.”


Eman’s story inspired us to feature her as one of the #IGNITE2016 Inspirational Individuals. The IGNITE Conference will be held on 16th November, 2016 at Beurs van Berlage, on ‘Tackling Instability, Radicalisation and Forced Migration’. See here for more information about speakers and workshops

Register for tickets.

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