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Saturday, November 25, 2017

Shadi Martini, Director of Humanitarian Relief and Regional Relations - Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees, joined host Janeane Bernstein to talk about his up-coming event Sunday December 3, and how he went from refugee of the Syrian War to activist and advocate!

SHADI MARTINI

Director of Humanitarian Relief and Regional Relations


Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees

LISTEN to today's show with Shadi Martini!


As it has with so many other victims of this crisis, the Syrian war turned businessman, Shadi Martini, into a refugee, an activist, and an advocate for greater cooperation across faith and cultural lines.
Now, as the Director of Humanitarian Relief and Regional Relations to the Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees, the nation’s leading interfaith response to the Syrian crisis, Mr. Martini travels throughout the U.S. and abroad raising awareness of the crisis, encouraging greater public engagement, facilitating partnerships between organizations focused on addressing similar issues, and planting the seeds for future stability in the region by fostering people-to-people engagement. 

He frequently provides briefings based on first-hand knowledge of the crisis to government officials, civil society leaders, the media, and various secular and faith-based organizations. He was born and raised in Aleppo, Syria and graduated from the High School Aleppo Scientific College. Martini attended college in Lebanon where he received his BA from Beirut University College in 1993. After graduation, Martini went to Bulgaria and formed his own manufacturing company. In 2009 he returned to Syria to run his family’s business.

In March 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on those providing aid to anyone suspected of being in the opposition, Mr. Martini, then the General Manager of a hospital in Aleppo, and his comrades worked covertly to provide aid to wounded and ill civilians. This secret network was discovered in mid-2012, forcing him to flee his country.

Soon after, Martini began organizing assistance for Syrian refugees from a neighboring country. He was elected by Bulgarian NGOs to serve on the Bulgarian crisis commission to help overcome the obstacles to aiding and integrating refugees. He then served on the executive committee of the national change party (Syrian opposition) in charge of foreign relations, but left the party in late 2013. He co-founded the “Republic Party” (Syrian opposition) and was elected chairman of the General Assembly, but left his post and the party, and resigned all political activity when he joined the Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees in Jordan.

In 2014, Martini founded Refugee Support Group, a humanitarian aid organization based in Bulgaria. For the past several years he has partnered with numerous faith-based organizations in the U.S. and abroad, which led to his involvement with the Multifaith Alliance. In that capacity, he continues his work in the Middle East and also coordinates major relief efforts for Syrian refugees flooding into Europe.

Martini is fluent in Arabic, English and Bulgarian. In April, he became a very proud United States citizen, in a ceremony he described as “An event I wish everyone could experience to understand the meaning of being a citizen of this great country.” On November 8, he voted in his first U.S. presidential election.




Orange County Interfaith Community Concert




Support the Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees

Sunday, December 3, 2017 ~ 2pm - 3pm 

Performance by the Marbella Trio 
featuring Shostakovich Piano Trio No. 2 

Presentation by Shadi Martini
Director of Humanitarian Relief & Regional
Relations for MFA 
Martini is a Syrian refugee, forced to flee
for secretly aiding the injured. 

Dessert reception immediately following concert hosted by the Interfaith Council of Laguna Beach. 

Funds raised by this event will enable MFA to ship containers of life-saving humanitarian aid for distribution directly to Syrian war victims in southern Syria. 

To adopt a container or donate, please visit: multifaithalliance.org/oc 


Make it a Day of Giving: 
Visit NCC’s annual “JOY OF GIVING” BOUTIQUE
from 11am-2pm. 

Find sustainable one-of-a-kind gifts from around the world, and opportunities to honor loved ones who appreciate making the world a better place. 

Neighborhood Congregational Church 
340 St. Ann’s Drive, Laguna Beach, CA 92651


shadi.martini@multifaithalliance.org | www.multifaithalliance.org
www.facebook.com/multifaithalliance | www.twitter.com/multifaithaid



About The Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees 

The Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees (MFA), a project of the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, is the United States’ leading interfaith response to the Syrian refugee crisis. A coordinating body, network and vehicle for harnessing the power of the faith-based and civil society collective, MFA’s mission is to raise funds in support of organizations that provide direct services to Syrian war victims, heighten awareness of the growing dangers of inadequate responses to the Syrian humanitarian crisis, and plant the seeds for future stability in the region by fostering people-to-people engagement. 

Comprised of more than 75 participating organizations, MFA enlists the moral authority of religious and civil society leaders to address the ongoing suffering of Syria's war victims and addresses the three great fears that interfere with humane and sensible public policy: economic impact, terrorism and Islamophobia. The devastation caused by this war is unprecedented in scale, leaving more than half of Syria's 23 million people in desperate need of humanitarian aid: 12.2 million are displaced or under siege inside Syria. They struggle daily to find food and shelter. An additional 200,000 languish in Syrian jails for opposing the al-Assad regime. 400,000-500,000 have been killed in the fighting, some gassed to death by chemical weapons. 

4.8 million registered refugees have fled to Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt, where they struggle to survive in overcrowded refugee camps, abandoned buildings, public parks, and with some compassionate host families. 80% of the refugees are vulnerable women and children. Only 10-20% of refugees are living in camps. Hundreds of thousands of unregistered refugees have no access to food, medical services, or sanitation. Moreover, they are ineligible for resettlement. 

Since its inception in 2013, MFA has worked in cooperation with the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) through which we have raised funds that are distributed to carefully-vetted organizations delivering direct aid to refugees. Almost $2,000,000 has helped address the critical needs of more than 85,000 refugees: 


  • Food Sanitary packages 
  • Trauma counseling 
  • First-aid training 
  • Health services specifically geared to children, adolescents, and women 
  • Medical equipment 
  • Resettlement processing 
  • Provision of and training in 3-D printers to produce prosthetic limbs 


MFA’s awareness-raising activities have reached audiences of more than 390 million people through print, broadcast and digital media, and nearly 9,000 people through in-person briefings to governments and civil society groups in the E.U., UK, U.S., Canada, and Israel. 

Simultaneously, MFA humanitarian activities have given rise to the potential for new diplomatic tracks. Many Syrians and Israelis are beginning to see each other as partners rather than enemies. This people-topeople interaction generates the possibility of a true paradigm shift in the geopolitical context, and with future relations between neighbors. MFA is facilitating this development through transformative Syrian/Israeli civil society engagement.

shadi.martini@multifaithalliance.org | www.multifaithalliance.org
www.facebook.com/multifaithalliance | www.twitter.com/multifaithaid



About The Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees 

The Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees (MFA), a project of the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, is the United States’ leading interfaith response to the Syrian refugee crisis. A coordinating body, network and vehicle for harnessing the power of the faith-based and civil society collective, MFA’s mission is to raise funds in support of organizations that provide direct services to Syrian war victims, heighten awareness of the growing dangers of inadequate responses to the Syrian humanitarian crisis, and plant the seeds for future stability in the region by fostering people-to-people engagement. 

Comprised of more than 75 participating organizations, MFA enlists the moral authority of religious and civil society leaders to address the ongoing suffering of Syria's war victims and addresses the three great fears that interfere with humane and sensible public policy: economic impact, terrorism and Islamophobia. The devastation caused by this war is unprecedented in scale, leaving more than half of Syria's 23 million people in desperate need of humanitarian aid: 12.2 million are displaced or under siege inside Syria. They struggle daily to find food and shelter. An additional 200,000 languish in Syrian jails for opposing the al-Assad regime. 400,000-500,000 have been killed in the fighting, some gassed to death by chemical weapons. 

4.8 million registered refugees have fled to Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt, where they struggle to survive in overcrowded refugee camps, abandoned buildings, public parks, and with some compassionate host families. 80% of the refugees are vulnerable women and children. Only 10-20% of refugees are living in camps. Hundreds of thousands of unregistered refugees have no access to food, medical services, or sanitation. Moreover, they are ineligible for resettlement. 

Since its inception in 2013, MFA has worked in cooperation with the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) through which we have raised funds that are distributed to carefully-vetted organizations delivering direct aid to refugees. Almost $2,000,000 has helped address the critical needs of more than 85,000 refugees: 


  • Food Sanitary packages 
  • Trauma counseling 
  • First-aid training 
  • Health services specifically geared to children, adolescents, and women 
  • Medical equipment 
  • Resettlement processing 
  • Provision of and training in 3-D printers to produce prosthetic limbs 


MFA’s awareness-raising activities have reached audiences of more than 390 million people through print, broadcast and digital media, and nearly 9,000 people through in-person briefings to governments and civil society groups in the E.U., UK, U.S., Canada, and Israel. 

Simultaneously, MFA humanitarian activities have given rise to the potential for new diplomatic tracks. Many Syrians and Israelis are beginning to see each other as partners rather than enemies. This people-topeople interaction generates the possibility of a true paradigm shift in the geopolitical context, and with future relations between neighbors. MFA is facilitating this development through transformative Syrian/Israeli civil society engagement.

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