DURHAM, NC, AUGUST 20, 2018 — More than 6,000 miles from her hometown of Hillah, Iraq, Samira Jasim found herself in front of a group of 14 Iraqi teenagers, at the Central North Carolina Chapter of the Red Cross in Durham, NC.
That day in mid-August, Samira taught the students about the Red Cross International Movement and International Humanitarian Law, hoping to spread her passion for volunteerism and kindness.
“With all of the hate all over the world, people need to learn about love. And they need to learn about law because it helps keep order,” Samira said.
Samira helped explain the Red Cross International Movement – the largest humanitarian network in the world. “Its mission is to alleviate human suffering, protect life and health, and uphold human dignity especially during armed conflicts and other emergencies. It is present in every country and supported by millions of volunteers.”
Samira spent two years working for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Baghdad, Iraq, before coming to the United States as a refugee with her family in 2015. At the ICRC, it was her responsibility as a communication officer to work with media, organize missions in the field for journalists, and serve as a liaison between the ICRC and local authorities. Often, she risked her life in war-torn cities to help those in need.
Samira now volunteers her time at the American Red Cross and works as a civil engineer in Raleigh, NC. She said it is her goal to teach others about International humanitarian law (IHL) – a set of rules that restrict the means and methods of warfare while protecting citizens, prisoners of war and wounded soldiers. The four Geneva Conventions—which form the foundation of IHL—are the only treaties in the world that have been ratified by all nations. As part of the Geneva Conventions, all countries are tasked with educating their population about IHL. The American Red Cross assists with IHL education for the American public, and provides the following programs:
Youth Education: Through the IHL Action Campaign, teams design and implement a program—such as a simulation, flash mob, school newspaper column or petition—to teach their peers and local community about the rules of war.
Legal Education: In-depth legal trainings, workshops and seminars are offered on the evolving body of IHL for law students, military officials, government employees, policy makers and the legal community.
Public Education: The Red Cross hosts events at its national headquarters and chapters across the country to educate the public on key global humanitarian issues during times of armed conflict.
About the morning spent with students, Samira said, “This is the new generation in my country. We faced a lot. I want them to have hope and success. Believe in humanity and equality.”