While in his native Syria, Houssam worked as a language and Political Sciences professor, and as as a producer, local liaison and translator for international media such as the BBC, ABC (Australia), Al-Jazeera and France 2. Together with international film crews, he filmed documentaries and segments on social issues in Syria, notably the situation of Iraqi refugees. He was arrested five times, after which he finally fled abroad. He’s been living in Germany since 2012 and continues to work as a freelance producer and research assistant for radio and television projects covering topics throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
Individuals in a diaspora are often in a precarious situation, facing deep questions about their identity in the countries or societies they are in, while dealing issues from the countries they or their families come from. To cope with their translocal status, diasporas have embraced models of distributed power, decentralized organization, and hybrid identity that seem tailor-made for contemporary society. This is particularly obvious in times that require mobilization in response to political issues, natural disasters, and forced migration. In this session, we will explore experiences from the Puerto Rican, Syrian, and Caribbean/black British diaspora. What are the common challenges and themes of Diaspora communities as they mobilize around different issues? What role has technology played or might play? How might Diaspora communities inspire other types of networks?