Sami Salloum describes his journey from Syria to Columbia University. 

Sami Salloum graduated from Columbia’s School of Professional Studies. He is from Damascus, Syria. He received his second masters in the Negotiation and Conflict Resolution program in the School of Professional Studies


Q: Where are you living currently?

I currently live in New York City, the best city in the world.


Q: What do you wish more people knew about Syria?

You might hear a lot about my country, Syria, in the news: dictatorship, terrorism, wars, humanitarian disasters, political oppression, etc. What you may not have heard is that Syrians never lose hope. We are very resilient people. Many refugees, displaced people, and political asylum seekers across the diaspora proved to be very influential in their new hosting communities and in various fields. 

I want to tell the world that there are tens of thousands in Syria who are still missing, arbitrarily detained, tortured, and forcibly abducted by parties to the conflict, constituting one of the worst war crimes in recent history. Syria is not safe for a dignified and safe return. The war has not ended, even if it is not a top story in the media anymore. 

Leaving everything behind, your house, family, friends, and community is one of the most arduous journeys ever. Fleeing torture, persecution, violence, and war is not a choice, but a survival instinct. People in conflict zones want peace and to live in dignity. Therefore, welcoming and empowering Syrians in their new hosting communities is an ethical duty to help them overcome the traumas they had experienced.

On a positive note, Syria has one of the best cuisines in the world, the best music, and our capital city, Damascus, is the oldest continuously inhabited capital in the world.