Syria, UAE

Aid Auction Brings Alive the Spirit of Giving

As president of Alive Events, Laila Hareb’s daily work is sleekly corporate, a world away from the cold and hunger hundreds of thousands of Syrians are enduring under siege. But every day, she ran the Syrian numbers in her head–over 2 million refugees, 50% of them children—until she decided to use her skills to bridge the gap between her and the besieged.

“What inspired me is the sense of responsibility I felt when this crisis started,” Laila says. “What we see in the media is appalling, and with my event management company, I could use the resources I have as part of my corporate social responsibility and create an opportunity for everyone who cares about this cause to come together.”

That chance will be the Alive charity auction on January 23 at Dubai’s H Hotel. Put on in cooperation with UAE Red Crescent, Breathing Numbers, and Baraka Advisors, it will feature a raffle draw of AED 100,000-worth of business-class air travel, hotel and family travel packages, an auction of artworks by eight prominent artists, and performances by the Dubomedy duo Ali Al-Sayed and Mina Liccione.

“I know it’s a small amount,” Laila confides, “but the domino effect of such events is great, and it can spread awareness of refugees’ conditions, as well as giving among those who attend.”

For more info – Auction website / Facebook page

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Jennifer MacKenzie

Poet, writer and teacher Jennifer MacKenzie grew up on Bloomcrest Dr. in Bloomfield Hills, MI, which inspired her to wonder about places with patterns other than floral. Following her education at Wesleyan University's College of Letters and the University of Iowa's Writers Workshop, she followed a zig-zag course that included a pilgrimage across the top of Spain and a long sojourn in Syria in pursuit of the language of Muhammad al-Maghout and Moudthaffar al-Nawwab. While in Damascus she completed the books of poems "Distant City" and "My Not-My Soldier" (forthcoming from Fence Books) and edited the magazine Syria Today. Her poems and essays can be found in numerous journals including the Kenyon Review online, Guernica, Quarterly West, and Lungfull. She currently lives in New York.

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