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Bronxville Students Hold SFL Day to Understand Syrian Refugee Crisis

The day began with remarks by United Nations Information Officer Mita Hosali and Bard College student Sana Mustafa, a Syrian refugee who is in asylum in the United States, before the high school students met in groups with the rest of the speakers.
The day began with remarks by United Nations Information Officer Mita Hosali and Bard College student Sana Mustafa, a Syrian refugee who is in asylum in the United States, before the high school students met in groups with the rest of the speakers. Photo Credit: Bronxville Union Free School District

BRONXVILLE, N.Y. -- Bronxville High School students had discussions about the Syrian refugee crisis during the annual Student Faculty Legislature Day on Jan. 29.

More than 20 prominent speakers, including a Syrian refugee and MSNBC “Morning Joe” hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, discussed this year’s topic.

Members of the Student Faculty Legislature, which is run by high school students, choose a new topic to explore each year. The student leaders, SFL advisor Victor Maxwell, Bronxville High School Principal Ann Meyer and parent volunteers arranged for guest speakers and organized various workshops to provide the rest of the students with a better understanding of the Syrian refugee crisis and an opportunity to engage in a meaningful discussion.

Each student was assigned to attend two breakout sessions during the day to learn about the problems facing the refugees.

“In order for Bronxville students to be leaders in making decisions on global issues, we need to be educated first,” said Natalia Kaminski, president of the Student Faculty Legislature. “Everyone is participating in the classrooms, learning something completely new, something they’ve never heard of before, a perspective they’ve never taken into account before. It’s really important to have that educated background before taking a stand in the Syrian refugee crisis issue.”

Following the workshops, the students gathered for a presentation by Brzezinski and Scarborough on the politics of the crisis. The day ended with a panel discussion with journalists, professors and prominent humanitarian activists.

“We believe it was important for a non-diverse community like Bronxville to explore the problems that Syrian refugees face overseas and all of the hardships they endure to find peace and seek asylum,” said Aidan Flannery, vice president of the Student Faculty Legislature. “There are so many different aspects to the crisis and there are so many moving parts in it, that it is very difficult to help these people. But all these countries need to step forward and take initiative to help them.”

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