Caabu school workshop on Syria and military intervention with Derby High School

Posted by Caabu on 08 Apr 2019

Caabu school workshop on Syria and military intervention with Derby High School

On 2 April 2019 Caabu hosted 13 students from Derby High School for a workshop on Syria, military intervention, its consequences including the refugee crisis and extremism. During the day, the students heard from different speakers and took part in various activities to better enhance their knowledge of Syria and the pros-and-cons of military interventions.

“An absolutely fabulous experience for all of us, staff and students. Brilliant that organisations like Caabu exist and are so willing to engage with young learners in such a positive way about the topics covered, yet do so in a way that makes the learning accessible without dumbing down”  – Teacher at Derby High School

The workshop started off with Ned Temko, a former foreign correspondent in Beirut and Jerusalem among others. He talked about the pros-and-cons of military intervention historically, arguing about different scenarios and criteria to take in account before deciding about such questions. He gave examples of earlier military actions where Britain participated, especially in the two Iraq wars of 1991 and 2003. These examples were used, to discuss Britain’s role, and whether a full-scale western led military intervention in Syria should have occurred or not. Alongside this, the students discussed Libya as an example of regime change by military force.

Chris Doyle discussed the Syrian conflict with Syrian activist and development practitioner, Bara’ah Al Dalati. She is a recent graduate from King’s College London with an MSC in Political Economy of Emerging Markets. She grew up in Syria in Damascusand was there when the revolution started in 2011. She described her experiences of living in Syria before and during the revolution, and what the current situation looks like within Syria and with bordering countries. Chris highlighted that there has been a protracted military intervention in Syria, highlighting the Russian, Iranian and Turkish actions As well as the actions of the anti-ISIS coalition.

Dal Babu, a former Chief Superintendent for the Metropolitan Police was our third guest for the day. He is currently a trustee of MSF UK (Medecins Sans Frontieres). Dal spoke about his experience in the police force and the impact the Syrian war had across borders and here in the UK. He spoke about how inflammatory the debate regarding refugees in Europe and UK had become over the last couple of years. He also highlighted how the governments prevent strategy was now a major toxic brand, and had alienated large sections of the British Muslim community.

We had a conversation with Ghaith Alhallak, a Syrian refugee living in Italy. The conversation was facilitated through our partner NaTakallam and was an opportunity for the students to hear from a person who lived and experienced the conflict, someone who was forced to flee and live as a refugee, firstly in Lebanon and now in Italy. The students were also given the opportunity to ask questions about what impact military intervention has had in Syria, why he ‘deserted’ the Syrian army and about the current situation in Syria.

Finally, the students divided into three different groups, and based on what had been discussed during the day, each group had to argue in favor of one of three different claims; pro military-intervention, total non-intervention or diplomacy. The group then presented their arguments, and were challenged, but also questioned by the other groups, but were also judged by a panel of three consisting of, Jocelyn Hurndall, Frank Ledwidge and Bara’ah Al Dalati.

 Feedback from the workshop:

“An absolutely fabulous experience for all of us, staff and students. Brilliant that organisations like Caabu exist and are so willing to engage with young learners in such a positive way about the topics covered, yet do so in a way that makes the learning accessible without dumbing down” –Teacher at Derby High School

To find out more about Caabu’s education programme please visit our website