Samer Laham, Distinguished Antiochian Philanthropist, Speaks at St. Vladimir's

On Monday, September 28, 2015, St. Vladimir's hosted Mr. Samer Laham, director of the Department of Ecumenical Relations and Development (GERD) for the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and all the East. Mr. Laham was the featured speaker at the Tuesday, September 29 presentation,"Syria in Crisis," at the Museum of the City of New York. 

After sharing a video introduction to the humanitarian crisis in Syria, Mr. Laham outlined the magnitude of the situation. Nine million people have been internally displaced, while three million Syrian refugees have fled to other countries. Most water, electricity, medical, education services have been damaged or put out of service, and half of all school-aged children have dropped out. The Church has lost thousands of its people, and a large number of Christian villages and churches have been destroyed.

There are glimmers of hope, however. The Patriarchate of Antioch's philanthropic arm has launched emergency plans in response, and has been able to aid over three million people, thanks to a partnership with the International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC). The distribution of food, household items, emergency housing, cash donations, is ongoing, and Mr. Laham emphasized that the Patriarchate will continue to stay in their homeland and minister to all those in need, regardless of their religion.