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Missing Aleppo Peppers

The catastrophic war in Syria and the devastation of Aleppo has resulted in a shortage of – Aleppo peppers. Western chefs and gastronomists bewail the absence of the unique spice in their pantries. Yet before rightly considering that millions of displaced and starving people in Syria endure unimaginable horrors every day, consider the loss of […]

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Dress made from a refugee tent steals London fashion show

British designer and humanitarian Helen Storey believes that fashion is an excellent vehicle to connect people to ­difficult subject matters. Last week, she sent a dress crafted from a former refugee tent down the runway at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower hotel in Knightsbridge. It captured everyone’s attention, and put a spotlight on climate change and its human impact.

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Dubai designer invites us to #FollowMeToSyria

Dubai-based designer Siba Mohtadi is using social media to open minds and hearts to her war-weary homeland, the  Syrian Arab Republic. Mohtadi posts images on her Instagram account #FollowMeToSyria that illustrate still-beautiful Syria, where hotels and cafes are open for business, people go about their daily lives, and nature thrives, in spite of war and […]

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Spice up your summer the ancient Yemeni way!

Pardon me, but you you pass the green s’chüg? I’m fresh from brunch with friends newly returned from Jaffa,  a feast formed from foods not easily found in my Brooklyn neighborhood. Hidden among the Challah bread french toast, steaming shakshuka (egg and pepper delection that’s my go-to Jerusalem breakfast), imported tahini, and home-cured olives, was […]

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6 great reads for Arab American Heritage Month

April is Arab American Heritage Month, and here are six publications from a half dozen Arab American authors whose work is influencing the literary landscape of the USA, and beyond. I’ve chosen one for each of the six Muslim-majority nations whose citizens are currently banned from entering the America. Crack one open and learn some […]

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Purposely destroyed artwork keeps dozens of refugees warm

A major Jordanian artwork showcased at the 2016 Amman Design Week was recently repurposed to provide basic human shelter for people in need. This afterlife was intentionally designed into the piece, an artistic application of “cradle-to-cradle” practices. The project raises awareness about conscious design and the positive impact of handcrafts within local communities.

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Refugee architecture earns an exhibit in a NYC museum

New York City’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is hosting an exhibition on refugee shelters to kickstart dialogue on the design challenges caused by humanitarian crises. Entitled “Insecurities: Tracing Displacement and Shelter”, the show looks at emergency housing in contemporary crisis zones. It is the first time a major museum has explored the plight of the […]

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Skittles, Risk and Statistics

I’m going to thank Donald Trump Jr. for providing a simple way to visualize our decisions regarding human refugees. He said that we should pretend that “those people” are skittles, not someone we could ever imagine being a loved-one– capable of thought, compassion, joy and loss as we believe of ourselves. In junior Trump’s analogy, […]

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This fact about figs is sure to bug you!

Flavorful figs are Middle East natives. Green Prophet  Linda Pappagallo wrote about this in a swell story about the versatile little foodstuff. Did you know they come in more than 750 varieties? They also come with a little surprise tucked inside – a secret ingredient that will delight and disgust you in equal measure.

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Syrian refugees list their tent on Airbnb

Take empathy to a new level by living just like a displaced person. A group of Syrian refugees advertised their camp tent as a rentable destination on Airbnb, offering intrepid travelers “scorpions, dehydration and broken promises”. They describe the Ritsona, Greece refugee camp, about 80 kilometers north of Athens, as “the most unique neighborhood in […]

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ISIS uses Tabqa Dam in Syria as weapon of war

Dams tame wild rivers, they prevent floods, irrigate crops and generate billions of watts of renewable hydroelectric power. But some 25 miles from Raqaa, Syria the Daesh (aka ISIS) don’t see the Tabqa dam as a source of green energy. They see it as a military base, a prison and weapon of war.

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When it comes to water cooperation, where is the Middle East?

United Nations-sponsored World Water Day was celebrated this week in a series of events around the world ranging from races to speeches to demonstrations of how individuals could conserve consumption of this most-critical of natural resources. To mark the occasion, two experts in international water policy have co-authored an Op-Ed exploring the future of water, […]

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Google gets hot for Wilbur Scoville!

Google did a doodle marking the 151st birthday of the pharmacist who helped us navigate the chili peppers, the tiny veggie with the power to drop diners to their knees. Wilbur Scoville was the first person to measure the heat of peppers. His heat scale is still in use today, scoring the piquancy of peppers. (What […]

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Soup for Syria: feed your belly and your soul

Soup for Syria is a beautiful new cookbook of delicious and easy-to-make recipes guaranteed to fill your belly and feed your mind with heightened humanitarian awareness. But at its heart it is a cookbook, a perfect primer for any cook seeking healthy and flavorful food made with no-fuss ingredients (mostly vegetarian) found in supermarkets everywhere.

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Syrian refugee women take to the stage

For Syrian refugees, seeing light at the end of the tunnel is a whole lot to ask. The Syrian civil war is reaching its five-year anniversary, and that’s not quite a call to celebration. What can humans cling to in such desolation? The things that make us human. We have the ability to feel and […]

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Water, Wars and an Uncertain Future

As the world awaits the release of the final draft agreement emerging from the COP21 climate talks – expected this morning –  longtime expert in water policy, Dr. Sundeep Waslekar explores one specific aspect of climate change in the following article, providing clear insight into the future of water, not only as a critical resource for all […]