The Lab & The Walk: Little Amal

The Lab & The Walk: Little Amal

Little Amal, a 12-foot puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian refugee, towered above a rustling layer of shining silver safety blankets. Behind the puppet, artists held children’s shoes over the crowd, mimicking the movements of little marching feet. Amal stopped and turned to look out over the crowd behind her, took a breath, and reached down to take a yellow baby shoe from a participant. The puppet raised the shoe to her ear, like how children listen to shells on the beach, encouraging members of the crowd to do the same.

—Syrian refugee Little Amal brings message of hope to D.C. during global tour

Georgetown Voice

The event included a walk from Freedom Plaza, at 14th St. NW and Pennsylvania Ave., to the Capitol, where co-director of The Lab Cynthia Schenider, multimedia artist Ifrah Mansour, artistic director of The Lab Derek Goldman, and two members of the House of Representatives — Representative Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) and Representative Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) — spoke to a large crowd, made up of Hoyas, children and D.C. residents.

The Lab worked with Imagination Stage’s Theater for Change to speak with newcomers in the D.C. area. Children in Imagination Stage’s programs shared their hopes and their visions of home to send with Amal to the Capitol.

Policy Workshop

The walk was followed by Children on the Move: A Policy & Learning Workshop on campus on September 22, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm in Copley Lounge, Georgetown University organized by The Collaborative on Global Childrens Issues.

A Child-centered Policy Workshop Amplifies the Voices of Young People with Lived Experience

This workshop provided an opportunity to consider what child-sensitive policies and responses would look like within U.S. foreign and domestic policy contexts. Co-sponsored by The Georgetown University Collaborative on Global Children’s Issues, InterAction’s Forced Displacement Working Group, International Rescue Committee, KIND, Save the Children, UNICEF-USA.

Addressing Growing Protection Needs of Children on the Move – InterAction


Little Amal is the 12 foot puppet of  a 10 year old Syrian refugee child at the heart of The Walk.  She has become a global symbol of human rights, especially those of refugees. 

 September 7th to November 5th, she will journey 6,000 miles across the United States in one of the largest free public festivals ever created.

Amal walks for the hundreds of thousands of refugees and displaced people of all ages roaming the world in search of safety, half of whom are children. When she walks, Amal brings people together. She gives voice to marginalized people (although she does not speak), and she is welcomed by ordinary people and people of power.

"Don't forget us.”

More about Amal Walks Across America

For More Information and to amplify Amal’s walk Visit

Connect With Amal:
#LittleShoesBigJourney #ChildrenOnTheMove #AmalWalksUS #LittleAmal #WalkWithAmal


After meeting Amal in person, students in the Global Performance and Politics course, wrote letters to her. This is a Lab course taught by Professor Derek Goldman.

The amount of festivity around Amal was the most enjoyable.. the most important thing is not to remove the joy out of a child that is experiencing this disaster.

—Katherine Martinez (CAS ’25)
a member of The Lab’s “Politics and Performance” class

The Collaboration

This collaboration is a major achievement in our continuous endeavors to bring attention to and encourage open discussions regarding the challenges and experiences faced by displaced children and refugees worldwide. As a part of our 2022 event, The Gathering, we organized a workshop titled “The Walk: Artists Engaging Migration and the Refugee Experience.” During this workshop, we facilitated conversations among various projects and artists who are actively involved in addressing migration issues and exploring ways to transcend boundaries and borders. They shared excerpts of their work, discussed their approaches and techniques, and envisioned a better future. Little Amal played a significant role in these discussions.

“Like millions around the world, I have been so deeply moved to meet Amal, to witness firsthand her power to bring people together across generations and cultures to engage with compassion. We at Georgetown and The Lab are deeply honored to be among those who welcome Amal, as she so indelibly symbolizes hope for displaced people around the world, and for the countless children who have been forcibly separated from their families. - Lab Artistic and Executive Director Derek Goldman
Derek Goldman

It was a high-stakes, high-profile moment. From performers to professors to policy advocates, we all aligned in this moment to see, learn from, and make life better for children on the move. Audience and participants were deeply moved, inspired, and energized. Big thank you to our many incredible partners who made this happen.


Amal Walks Across America is produced by The Walk Productions in association with the Handspring Puppet Company. U.S. Producing Partner THE OFFICE performing arts+film. Impact + Outreach The Soze Agency. Marketing Cause Lab. PR + Communications DKC.

Little Shoes, Big Journeys, Amal’s Walk to The U.S. Capitol featured:

Natsu Onoda Power & Shorty Corleone – Georgetown Gogo band Welcome Amal

Glenn Pearson & Felicia CurryNo One Is Alone

Happenstance Theater – procession & story activation

DuPont Brass – procession music

Alex & Olmsted– puppetry expertise

Imagination Stage – newcomer children’s voices

Matt Nielson – sound design for newcomer children’s voices

Washington Revels & Matt PearsonThis Little Light of Mine

Ifrah Mansour* – puppetry expertise and poem: I am a refugee 

Taylor Russell – Site Manager

Jenna Keefer – Event Manager

Julia Marks – Partner & Music Coordinator






#LittleShoesBigJourneys #ChildrenOnTheMove


#LittleAmal #TheWalk #OneLittleGirl 

#OneBigHope #HandspringPuppetCompany 


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