Friends, Peace, and Sanctuary Project

November 16, 8:30am - 10:00am EST. Hosted at FS Investments

part of a series on Restart

About the speaker

Fouad Sakhnini is a collaborator on the Friends, Peace, and Sanctuary Porject. Fouad is a Palestinian refugee who was born and raised in Syria. He received a BA in English Literature at Damascus University and worked as a translator and interpreter before fleeing Syria. Fouad married his love Shouq, who studied engineering. They left Syria the day after their wedding for Thailand, where they waited for four years to be resettled in another country. Both of their parents are still in Syria. While they were in Thailand, Shouq and Fouad worked as interpreters and conference organizers and had baby Maher before resettling in the US. Fouad and his family were the second to last family resettled from Syria in Philadelphia between the two policy attempts to block Syrian refugees into the country. Within four months, he independently secured a job as a project manager in a translation company. Fouad enjoys reading books and getting to know the culture of the country he is living in saying that movies and tv shows are really important ways one can understand another culture. His favorite play is Waiting for Godot because he says it reflects his life. Although they miss home and their families deeply, they finally feel they are living a stable life here. They continue to build their lives and plan to continue their studies by enrolling in masters programs.

Nora Elmarzouky is a cultural organizer, researcher, consultant on alternative community engagement methods, and co-founder of collaborative. in•sitecollaborative is a collective of designers and researchers working to make urban development and change in the city more participatory and equitable. Nora is an educator, facilitator, public programs designer on topics such as place, belonging, multicultural and multigenerational engagement, immigration, connecting political and the personal, arts and culture, and diversity and equity in philanthropy. Additionally, she evaluates arts and culture programming, creative placemaking, and collaborative partnerships. Worked for many years in Egypt as a multidisciplinary researcher on families and youth, service-learning experiential educator and designer, and political, social, and environmental organizer. Currently, in Philadelphia, she is managing a socially-engaged bookarts project Friends, Peace, and Sanctuary at Swarthmore College; energy democracy community engagement programming design and implementation with Centennial Parkside CDC; co-organizer of YallaPunk festival and monthly SWANA salons; and general connector between people, place, and movements.

Local partners

Additional details

Swarthmore College’s Friends, Peace, and Sanctuary project, supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, brings renowned book artists into conversation with Syrian and Iraqi individuals who have resettled to Philadelphia. Driven by questions about displacement and refuge, history and experience, the project explores art’s capacity to build empathy and create a deeper sense of belonging. To find out more visit the website at