The Real Reason for Refugees: A Lecture

Mon, Apr 29, 2019, 4:30 pm
Audience: 
Open to the Public
Speaker(s): 
Sponsor(s): 
Mellon-Sawyer Seminar Series
Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies

Lecture by Omar Alshogre and Mouaz Moustafa

Omar Alshogre is a 23 years old former detainee in the brutal prisons of the Assad regime in Syria. Omar was first arrested as a minor at the age of 15. At 17 years old, Omar was arrested for the last and spent three horrific years in the worst of Syria’s prisons. He spent nearly two years in Syrian Intelligence Agency branch 215, one of the most notorious of Assad’s prisons, where he was responsible for numbering bodies that later appeared in the photos in the Caesar file.  He was also arrested for nearly a year in the notorious Seydnaya prison. 

Omar along his surviving 10 year old brother traveled to Europe and arrived in Sweden. Omar learned Swedish, Norwegian and English and now works for The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) as well as a member of the Caesar Team which is part of the Syrian Emergency Task Force an American Non-profit Humanitarian Organization. 

Omar has met with the White House, Holocaust Museum, multiple members of Congress, HRW, NYT, Washington Post, CFR and gave a lecture at Brown University during his current short visit to the United States.  He is also a key witness to every national prosecution effort to hold the Assad regime accountable for War Crimes and will be playing an important role along side Caesar as a key witness for future US national prosecution efforts of the Assad regime where American citizens have been executed and others remain detained by the regime. 


Mouaz Moustafa was born and raised in Damascus, Syria before moving to the US as a teenager. He is the current Executive Director for The Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF). As former staffer for Congressman Vic Snyder and Senator Blanche Lincoln, Mr. Mouaz Moustafa spent a few years on Capitol Hill before joining SETF in the fall of 2011 to help advocate on behalf of the pro-democracy movement in his native Syria. 

Mr. Moustafa regularly travels to Turkey, Syria, and Jordan. He has organized many staff and congressional delegations to Turkey and Jordan Including Senator McCain's trip to northern Syria in 2013. He worked closely with the Defector Caesar, brining him to testify in front of the House Foreign Affairs Committee in the US House of Representatives.  Mouaz has also worked closely with the US Holocaust Memorial Museum to bring awareness to the atrocities taking place in Syria including a continuing exhibit of the Caesar photos currently at the Museum.

“Syria is the worst humanitarian crisis in our lifetime. It is our never again moment and it is what drives our humanitarian and advocacy work.  SETF is an organization for anyone who wants to help give a voice to the voiceless and to keep the spark of freedom, justice, and democracy alive in Syria while standing against tyranny and terrorism.”

The Syrian Emergency Task Force was established in March 2011 to support the demand of the Syrian people for freedom and democracy, irrespective of ethnicity, region, or background.  SETF advocates in solidarity with the Syrian people to inform and educate the American public and its representatives about their suffering, while addressing the colossal humanitarian crisis and promoting the development of the Syrian civil society based on respect from human dignity and freedom. 

This event is part of the year-long Mellon-Sawyer Seminar Series, "Global Migration: The Humanities and Social Sciences in Dialogue."

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