‘We’ve tried everything’

Meet Hassan Al Kontar, the renowned “man in the airport,” who was stuck in an airport while seeking asylum. Also with Houda Al-Fadil, a Syrian refugee striving to rebuild her cooking business after surviving a devastating earthquake in Türkiye.

In our first episode, editor-in-chief Malcolm Lucard and senior communications officer Irina Ruano track down Hassan, a refugee of the Syrian conflict who became known worldwide as the “man in the airport.”

Hassan spent 6 months living in an air terminal as he tried to find a country that would grant him asylum. Along with the Canadian Red Cross, the magazine produced a multi-media story package about Hassan (‘If someone told me this story, I wouldn’t believe it.’), who ultimately found refuge in Canada and eventually became a Canadian Red Cross volunteer.

In this podcast, we also speak with Houda, also a Syrian refugee who is struggling to restart her cooking business after the terrifying earthquake in Türkiye in February. With help from the Turkish Red Crescent and ESSN, Houda had been able to start a small cooking business in which she cooked both Syrian and Turkish recipes. See the story ‘Houda’s Dream’ here. It was a great story about inclusion, entrepreneurship and human dedication. We called up Houda to find out how she was doing after the recent, horrific earthquake that hit Syria and Türkiye in February. You can read more about her and how she’s still striving to make her dreams come true here on this IFRC.org story. 

Stay tuned for more episodes to come!


What happens when machines can decide who to kill?

It’s the stuff of science fiction: machines that make decisions about who and when to kill. Referred to as “autonomous weapons”, they’re already in use to some degree. But as more sophisticated systems are being developed we wanted to an expert in the field about whether such systems comply with international humanitarian law and what it means for humanity to give machines the power over human life and death.

‘Wildfire diaries’ and radical change in communications

In this episode, we talk with humanitarian communicator Kathy Mueller who produced our first magazine podcast series, The Wildfire Diaries, about massive wildfires in Northern Canada in 2017. We talk about that series, her many international missions, and the big changes in humanitarian communications since she began with the Canadian Red Cross almost 20 years ago.

The power of storytelling

In this episode, we talk about the power of storytelling to inform and inspire. “Storytelling is a fundamental aspect of human communication,” says our guest Prodip, a volunteer and multi-media storyteller for the Bangladesh Red Crescent. “It inspires us to be a hero of our own community.” We also speak with one such community hero, Dalal al-Taji, a longtime volunteer and advocate for inclusion of people with disabilities in emergencies response. “In disasters. persons with disabilities sometimes get forgotten.”

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