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How the Violin Became an Instrument of Peace for Syrian Refugee, Mariela Shaker

Updated: May 20


Just like the great warrior, poet and activist Audre Lorde advocated, Mariela Shaker believes in sharing her personal story in order to transform silence into language and action; in this case into beautiful music, too. Despite the hardship Shaker has endured in her life, her resilience and passion continue to lead her along her inspiring path of sharing love and peace through music.

Mariela’s journey with music began at a young age in her home city of Aleppo, Syria. She was only nine when she enrolled in the Arabic Institution of Music, later going on to work there as a violin teacher whilst studying her Business degree at Aleppo University. It was at Aleppo University in January 2013 that she experienced an explosion which killed 82 people - several of which were friends of hers.

A pivotal moment in Mariela’s life, she recognised that she was putting herself in extreme danger by staying in Aleppo. It was the day of the explosion, which occurred as she was attempting to collect her diploma after graduating, that she decided she had to leave.


"Music is a bridge that connects the world together"


After living through two years of violence and civil unrest, witnessing the destruction of her home and her country, Mariela began to send applications to universities over the world in order to gain a scholarship to study. Certain of her true talent and passion for the violin, Monmouth College in Illinois offered Mariela a full scholarship and she fled her war-torn country in 2013 to pursue her second bachelor’s in music performance.

“Refugees are not a burden, but displaced people - desperate to change their lives and make a difference.”

Powerless to change the situation in her country whilst remaining there, she took this vital step in order to share her story and attempt to bridge the barriers between people and nations through the power of music. An outlet for her pain and sorrow, her music allows her to communicate an international message higher than words. She advocates for the recognition of refugees as real people - forced to flee their home countries due to danger, war and conflict. Mariela continues to advocate and inspire by transforming her pain and suffering into music, language and action.

Mariela will host our upcoming Talitha Talk, titled Music for Peace, Advocacy and Social Change. The event will take place online on Thursday 27th of May at 7PM BST. In this moving talk, Mariela will focus on three main threads:


Her life story; tragedy and triumph

Mariela will take you on her journey from Aleppo to the US and later the UK describing the struggle she endured and the success she achieved. In addition to the story, Mariela will perform her violin and touch the hearts of her audience.


Music for peace, advocacy, and social change

The talk will highlight the great role of music in our life to create a change and inspire change makers to take actions. She will demonstrate this through her violin and powerful words.


Women and youth Empowerment

Mariela's message will aim to empower women and youth around the globe through her personal story and music and prove that when we have a will nothing can be impossible.

You can find out all the information as well as how to book your tickets here:


https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/mariela-shaker-music-for-peace-advocacy-and-social-change-with-talitha-tickets-150735135849?utm-medium=discovery&utm-campaign=social&utm-content=attendeeshare&aff=escb&utm-source=cp&utm-term=listing




Article sources:


1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbAevrx6X_g [Mariela's Ted Talk]


2. http://www.buzzfeed.com/hayesbrown/she-fled-syria-and-found-refuge-on-the-stage#.rj8Jwbwk8n


3. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/refugee-violinist-mariela-shaker_us_56ec2787e4b03a640a6a48ef?zzd7vi


4. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/globalcity/ct-global-city-syrian-refugee-met-20160122-story.html

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