Today, the Evansville Rotary Club hosted a speaker who lived in Syria and knows firsthand what like is like under President Bashar al-Assad's rule.
Larissa Liventals lived in Syria from 2009 to 2012 and during her time there she worked to produce a film on the history of the capital city of Damascus. She taught English and she trained some local teachers.
Liventals says she thinks people in the United States have a negative stereotype of the region and of the people in Syria. She says the headlines about violence and devastation are not representative of the people as a whole and she wants to share with the world a different window into Syrian society. She says people are warm and generous and boast of history of art and architecture. Larissa says understanding the deep cultural heritage helps individuals understand the current crisis that both binds and divides the nation. She also says their intelligence breads prosperity in many areas.
"For example, Syria has an eighty percent literacy rate contributions also in trade and commerce both historically and today," said Liventals. "One of the things that I also always notice is the generosity of the people and also that this is a very cosmopolitan people who have aspirations and ideas, many of which are very western leaning and would look very familiar to those of us in the United States," she said.
Liventals tells us that she is anxious to get back to Syria and perhaps work in the humanitarian sector.
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