Queen Rania calls for restoring dignity to Syrian refugees at the screening of documentary film Salam Neighbor in Washington, DC

April 15, 2016

(Office of Her Majesty – Press Department – Washington, D.C.) Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah underlined the importance of supporting Syrian refugees living in Jordan and other host countries in the Middle East, describing them as “the best hope for rebuilding their broken land.”

The Queen said the refugees have experienced unimaginable hardship, leaving behind everything they had “to choose peace instead of war.”

She made these remarks at a screening of the new documentary ‘Salam Neighbor’ at Georgetown University in Washington DC on Thursday.

The film follows award-winning filmmakers Zach Ingrasci and Chris Temple while they lived among refugees for one month in Zaatari camp, the second largest refugee camp in the world, after Dadaab Camp in eastern Kenya.

Queen Rania explained that helping refugees rebuild Syria in the future won’t be possible without assisting host countries and aid agencies that are providing security and services to millions of displaced Syrians in the Middle East.

Addressing an audience of more than 700 people, the Queen admired the ability of the filmmakers to reveal the refugees’ resilience throughout the film. Despite their suffering “they have not abandoned hope,” she said.

“We see people who have nothing finding ways to share everything” “We see young men whose dreams have been stolen from them, finding ways to give comfort to others,” Queen Rania added.

Some 1.3 million Syrian refugees live in Jordan, and nearly 90% of them are living in Jordanian cities and towns, not in camps.

Queen Rania hailed the generosity of Jordanians, who have been sharing their schools and health centers, and extending “the hand of friendship to those in desperate need.” “I could not be more proud of their selflessness, their sacrifice and their kindness,” she added.

The Queen stressed on the importance of tolerance in a country that hosts refugees, noting that they are “people to befriend, not to be feared.”

In her remarks, she also referred to inspiring stories in the documentary about mothers who are desperate to make ends meet launching their own home businesses, and children who have witnessed extreme violence aspiring to grow up to be doctors. 

The Queen called for individual initiatives that restore dignity and resolve to refugees she described as “loving, creative, enterprising, and determined individuals.”

Executive director at the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, Melanne Verveer, as well as President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, David Miliband, also delivered remarks before the screening.

Ingrasci and Temple’s production company Living On One partnered with 1001 MEDIA, another production company, co-founded by Mohab Khattab and Salam Darwaza, to produce the film.

 All four filmmakers attended the screening and participated in a Q&A session afterwards.  The filming of ‘Salam Neighbor’ was facilitated by the Jordanian authorities and UN organizations, allowing the filmmakers to reside in Zaatari for one month in order to witness firsthand the daily struggles of living in the refugee camp.