For one memorable night dedicated to Syria, we heard honest, authentic, experienced and passionate speakers present the realities of the Syrian crisis, its human impact; eyewitnesses shared first person accounts from the Syrian people at different stages of their journey.
Exceptionally beautiful landscapes of Syria before the war were shared by Abu Maya; and Frederic Seguin, an international photojournalist showed us the hopeful and resilient 'Smiles in Exile' from human beings facing distressing and challenging life choices on a daily basis.
We heard a fascinating and educational talk from Dr Eugenio Lilli on the history, current status and possible future of the Syrian crisis and watched the moving film, #hamsathedocumentary created by the talented Foxwolf duo, Caroline Spearpoint and Miriam Thom.
Gulwali Passarlay shared his a deeply moving and personal story of his own journey from Afghanistan to the United Kingdom as a 12 year old travelling alone through 10 countries for over twelve months; a story that inspired us at Agape Caritas to give each attending guest a signed book to take home.
We also got to know more about our three selected charities. Samara Levy introduced the work of Samara's Aid Appeal, Roger Marsden informed us of the wonderful work Save the Children were doing and Andrej Mahecic gave detailed updates on the progress the UNHCR were making with the global humanitarian crisis.
The evening was driven by warmth, compassion and embracement; and our guests engaged with each other, the speakers and charities over delicious canapés and fine wine in the luxurious surroundings of the 5* Mayfair Hotel's Salon.
One of the big lessons we learned was that the significance of a kind gesture has nothing to do with the size of a gift; so we would like to encourage everyone to continue to drive forward with compassion and love through whatever medium feels comfortable. We urge everyone to volunteer, donate time and we believe that our guests will share the human stories they heard, influence the people around them, educate the ignorant and raise awareness within their social circles.
We believe that our forum inspired all our guests to do whatever they feel is within their power and that they feel more comfortable in doing so.
With love and kindness,
Marie and Banké
To watch the talks on the night:
Please click on 'Watch the talk here' under the speaker of your choice.