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Witness: Aleppo Sights, Sounds & Stories from Pre-War Syria

  • Kenney Auditorium The Paul H. Nitze Building School of Advanced International Studies 1740 Massachusetts Avenue Northwest Washington, DC, 20036 United States (map)

The Office of the Dean
The Foreign Policy Institute
The Middle East Studies Program
Lost Origins Gallery &
One Journey
Invite you to
Witness: Aleppo Sights, Sounds & Stories from Pre-War Syria

An exhibition of works & musical performance
by Jason Hamacher of Lost Origins Productions

in conversation with

Lina Sergie Attar, Architect
Farrah Hassen, Filmmaker
Shamila N. Chaudhary, Moderator

Tuesday April 3, 2018

4:30 – 6 pm
Discussion & Musical Performance followed by a reception and exhibition

This event is on the record and open to the media

For disability accommodations, please contact event organizer at or 202-999-3332

Before the bomb blasts and gunfire, what sounds marked daily life in Aleppo? Before the Islamic State began its campaign of sectarian violence, how did Muslims and Christians live alongside one another?

Please join us for a discussion and photography exhibit on the sights, sounds, and stories from pre-war Syria. The event will feature the musical recordings and photography of Jason Hamacher, an internationally recognized musician, photographer, and public speaker who gained unprecedented access to the city of Aleppo from 2005 – 2010.

From documenting the ancient religious musical traditions of the Sufi, Armenian, Chaldean, and Syriac communities in Aleppo, to shooting scenes of everyday life, Hamacher inadvertently captured the apex of Syria’s modernization before the eruption of civil war.

Joining Hamacher will be Farah Hassen, a Syria analyst and filmmaker whose family hails from Aleppo and has written extensively on U.S.-Syria relations; and Lina Sergie Attar, a Syrian-American architect from Aleppo who works on humanitarian issues in Syria.


Jason Hamacher is the founder and director of Lost Origin Productions and the Lost Origins Gallery in Mt Pleasant, DC. Hamacher’s efforts contribute to the international conversation on Syria with frequent television, radio, and speaking engagements such as National Public Radio, United Nations, BBC World Service, Al Jazeera, Voice of America, Huffington Post, and Canada’s CBC. Hamacher’s combination of photography, sound, and personal experience of Syria offers an unparalleled immersion into one of the world’s oldest civilizations. His adventurist spirit, passion for people, and love of culture earned him the trust of Syrians across all socio-economic classes allowing him to truly capture the essence of the Syrian landscape and its people. His collection of sound and image were recently added into the permanent collection at The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

Lina Sergie Attar is a Syrian-American architect and writer from Aleppo and co-founder and CEO of Karam Foundation. In 2007, Attar developed the vision of Karam (which means generosity in Arabic). Since 2011, she has directed Karam in its focus on the Syrian humanitarian crisis: developing an innovative education program for Syrian refugee youth, distributing aid to Syrian refugee families, and funding projects initiated by Syrians for Syrians. Her articles and essays have appeared in the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and she has appeared on CNN, NBC News, the BBC News, NPR and other media outlets. She is a graduate of the University of Aleppo, Rhode Island School of Design, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Farrah Hassen is a Syrian-American writer, filmmaker, and soon-to-be attorney. Born in the United Arab Emirates and raised in Southern California, Hassen’s family hails from Aleppo, Syria, where relatives have remained since the start of the war. Since 2003, she has studied, researched, and written on U.S. Middle East policy, with a focus on U.S.-Syria relations. Her articles have been published by Vice, The Progressive, The Asia Times, The Chicago Sun-Times and Race & Class, among others. Hassen began her policy work at the Institute for Policy Studies in DC, where she also created short-form documentaries on pertinent public policy issues. She served as a political advisor to the Syrian Ambassador to the U.S. at the Embassy of Syria in DC, resigning a few months after the start of the Syria uprising. Thereafter, working as an election observer with The Carter Center in Egypt, Hassen witnessed the first post-Mubarak parliamentary and presidential elections. She is the Associate Producer of the 2004 documentary, “Syria: Between Iraq and a Hard Place,” directed by Saul Landau. In between completing her law degree in 2016, Hassen curated “Yalla,” a monthly all-vinyl DJ night in DC featuring the sounds of Syria, Iraq, and the Maghreb.

Shamila N. Chaudhary is a Fellow at the Johns Hopkins SAIS Foreign Policy Institute (FPI) and Senior Advisor to Dean Vali Nasr. She is the Director of The Big Picture forum at FPI, which explores international affairs through arts and culture. She is a foreign policy expert specializing in counterterrorism, national security policy, South Asia, and also writes on American socio-economic and political issues. Her work is regularly cited and published in Foreign Policy, The Washington Post, Politico, The Atlantic, and the New York Times and she has frequently appeared on CNN, BBC News America, NPR, Fox News and other outlets. She served twelve years in the U.S. government, including at the Obama Administration White House National Security Council and on the staff of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She is co-editor of the documentary photography book UnPresidented: The Inauguration of Donald J. Trump and the People’s Response.

One Journey is a coalition of grassroots organizations, companies, and NGOs that is building a movement to connect and celebrate the “oneness” of humanity by hosting a national event on June 2 at the Washington National Cathedral of Washington, DC to uplift refugee talents and the human spirit of resilience.

Lost Origins Gallery aims to inspire community and understanding by providing a space for gathering, expression, ideas, art, and culture in the historic Mount Pleasant neighborhood of Washington, D.C.

This event is on the record and open to the media

For disability accommodations, please contact event organizer at or 202-999-3332