The West Asia – North Africa (WANA) Institute works in the sectors of human security, social justice, and sustainable development to forge innovative and practical solutions to pressing regional challenges. Our commitment to building knowledge and action for the region, leaves us acutely aware of the importance of promoting a stable environment for future generations.

Children’s wellbeing and safety are key elements in ensuring human security and social justice. One in five people living in the WANA region is aged between 15 and 24. As the number of youth continues to rise, it is imperative that we invest in a region that provides them with hope, opportunity and a context to flourish.  

Tragically, this future is at risk. The conflicts occurring across the region have a high civilian mortality rate, significant portions of which are children. We need to remember that these numbers have faces, and stories. Not only do we have a duty to protect these children, they are the future of the region.

All of loss of innocent life deserves recognition. To draw attention to the scale of child suffering and mortality due to violent conflict in the region, WANA is partnering with the Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights to create an online photographic tribute to the children who lost their lives in the summer of 2014. Over the coming year, WANA will work with NGOs across the region to build and maintain this tribute wall to remember all children who have lost their lives to conflict across the region.

About West Asia - North Africa (WANA) Institute

The West Asia - North Africa (WANA) Institute is a non-profit policy think tank based in Amman, Jordan.

Operating under the chairmanship of His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal, the Institute works to promote a transition to evidence-based policy and programming to combat the development and humanitarian challenges facing West Asia and North Africa.

The WANA Institute aspires to be a trusted source of knowledge, evidence and opinion, and to provide a forum for open debate for leading researchers and policy makers in the region.

We undertake research, host conferences and conduct training workshops in the areas of social justicegreen economy and human security. We believe these three areas represent both the most pressing issues facing our region and the greatest opportunity for our work to create vital impact.

About Mezan

Located in Gaza, the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights promotes respect and protection for human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), with a focus on economic, social and cultural rights (ESCR).  The organization’s guiding principles include equal human worth and equal respect for all human rights, including individual and collective rights, as enshrined in international law and jurisprudence. Al Mezan monitors and documents human rights violations, coordinates awareness and capacity building programs in Gaza, provides legal aid and representation,  participates in legal review, and conducts research and analysis.

About Samer Kurdi

I started painting at age 21 after taking a couple of art classes while a student in Boston. And although my degree was not in art, I managed to take as many art classes as I could in the US, and then most notably with the famous Syrian/German artist ‘Marwan Qassab Bashi’ at Darat Al Funun in Amman in the late 90’s.

While I am drawn to large, emotionally charged representational oil paintings in the expressionistic tradition, my artistic journey recently took a turn towards digital media, such that I am now using stylus and tablet to create prints digitally (which, incidentally, tend to look exactly like my paintings), and creating limited edition prints out of them, examples of which you can see in this venue.

My subject matter is grounded in Middle Eastern roots: dervishes, pomegranates, still lifes, and café scenes from downtown Amman. I am drawn to spaces that represent Arabic urban culture, and spaces where ‘life’ is either present or implied; people reading in cafes, an interior with an ashtray on a table, a flight of stairs.

The prints that are presented in this video were created in cooperation with WANA. Each print was inspired by a sentence or phrase from the text provided by WANA, and meant to illustrate the concepts therein and, hopefully, to arrive at an emotional reaction in the viewer. I am both grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with them and proud of the outcome.

If you would like to see more of my work, please visit my website samerkurdi.com.

Samer Kurdi,

Amman, Jordan