Voices Unheard: Syria: The Trojan Women Summit

September 19, 2014

Re-interpreted by a group of women forced to flee their homes in Syria who now live as refugees in Amman, Syria: The Trojan Women weaves the individual experiences of these women in a 21st-century conflict into Euripides’ 2500 year-old text. After premiering in December 2013 in Amman, Jordan to international acclaim, the Lab was scheduled to host these extraordinary women (September 18-20, 2014), under the direction of leading Syrian director Omar Abu Saada, in their first North American performances.

Despite many months of constant efforts and extraordinary advocacy on the women's behalf from a wide range of top officials, ambassadors, and legal experts, the US Bureau of Consular Affairs in Amman denied the visa applications of the women performers under section 214b of the Immigrant and Nationality Act, failure to demonstrate non-immigrant intent (despite the women's deep ties to their children and young families in Amman).

Instead, the Lab and the Department of Performing Arts presented Voices Unheard: Syria: The Trojan Women Project. This one-time event on September 19, 2014 included high-quality recorded excerpts and behind-the-scenes documentary footage from the process; live discussion with the women (via Skype from Amman) and with other members of the project's artistic team, including leading Syrian director Omar Abu Saada (via Skype from Beirut); and discussion with the following leading policy experts and artists about the political realities in the region and the role of art as a humanizing force:

Honey Al Sayed, Creative Consultant, Radio Host & Producer; Co-founder, SouriaLi Radio

Faisal Al-Juburi, Executive Director, Bridges of Understanding

Dale Gavlak, BBC and CBS Correspondent in Amman

Faysal Itani, Resident Fellow, Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, Atlantic Council

Hind Kabawat, Senior Program Officer, United States Institutes of Peace, Syria

Voices Unheard: Syria: The Trojan Women Project was the first event in Myriad Voices: A Cross-Cultural Performance FestivalMyriad Voices is made possible in part by a grant from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP); Building Bridges: Campus Community Engagement Grants Program, a component of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art. The festival is also presented in collaboration with the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs, Bridges of Understanding, and the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies.