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Journalist to discuss Syrian refugee crisis at Bristol talk

BRISTOL — We hear news reports about the Syrian Refugee crisis, but the reality of this situation can be difficult to grasp. Radio journalist Nina Keck will put a human face on the Syrian Refugee crisis when she shares photos and talks about her recent reporting trip to Jordan, one of the countries most impacted by the crisis.
The presentation will take place on Friday, Sept. 22 from 7-8:30 p.m. at Holley Hall in Bristol. This free event is hosted by the One World Library Project and is supported in part by the Vermont Humanities Council. It is open to the public and accessible to those with disabilities.
What do refugees go through? Who gets resettled and who decides where they live? How long does it take and what is the cost?  Will more be coming to Rutland? And how difficult is it to wait, powerlessly, while someone else decides your family’s future? These are some of the questions Keck will address in her talk. 
Civil war erupted in Syria in March of 2011. Since then, more than half the country’s population have been killed or forced to flee their homes. Global relief agencies report more than five million Syrians have become refugees, seeking safety in nearby Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt and Jordan. Hundreds of thousands have also sought asylum in Europe.
But the ripple effects of the crisis have traveled much farther. In April of 2016, when former Rutland Mayor Christopher Louras announced plans to resettle 100 Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Rutland, the crisis suddenly became much more personal and divisive for many Vermonters.
CHILDREN THAT NINA Keck met at Zaatari Refugee Camp. Officials told her that 60-80 babies are born at the camp every week and there are children everywhere.
Photo/Nina Keck
As part of her efforts to report on that issue as well as better understand the crisis in general, Keck traveled to the Jordanian capital, Amman in late January. She also toured the sprawling Zaatari Refugee Camp, just south of the Syrian boarder. “You get a different perspective when you sit in a person’s home, meet their children and share a glass of tea,” says Keck, who met with dozens of refugees. While most just wanted to return home, many had begun the lengthy resettlement process for their children’s sake. But as Keck found out, resettlement is a bit like winning the lottery; fewer than one percent of refugees find a new home that way.
About 12,500 Syrian refugees were settled in the United States in fiscal year 2016. That number will decline this year due to President Trump’s Executive Order calling for a temporary halt and overall reduction in resettlement. It’s a policy that’s meant fewer Syrian families in Rutland.
Nina Keck is an award-winning radio journalist who works from her home in Chittenden and produces stories predominantly for Vermont Public Radio. Her work is also frequently heard nationally on NPR’s All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Here and Now, Only A Game and Marketplace. Keck also narrates educational science videos for the Brandon-based company, Visual Learning Systems.
Originally from Milwaukee, Keck began her career as a disc jockey in Madison while attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She spent seven years in Washington D.C. working for the Voice of America and was briefly a news correspondent for VOA in Berlin. She and her husband Seth moved to Rutland, Vermont in 1996. They have two daughters.
This program is the first of several offered during this coming year by the One World Li-brary Project that will focus on refugees and immigration.
For more information on this event or about One World Library Project, contact the Lawrence Memorial Library at 453-2366 or visit OneWorldLibraryProject.org or the One World Library Project Facebook page.

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