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Kayak Iraq III is a two-hour guided Kayak-athon to raise money for Safana’s 2013-14 expenses as she prepares for her Sophmore year as a DePaul student. No experience is needed to spend the afternoon with ISP DePaul on the beautiful lagoons in Winnetka. (Directions below.) Ask your families and friends to join you and also to support the Kayak-athon. On the left is Hala, our graduating ISP senior, at last year’s Kayak-athon. We hope she’ll be able to join us again this year.
Access the registration form here. Kayak registration/rental fee is $25, but it’s free if you bring your own kayak. After your registration is received, Margaret Sents will send you instructions for soliciting on-line donations from families and friends. And please download and post the flier.
Click Directions to find out how to get to Skokie Lagoons.
Questions? Contact Margaret Sents at email@example.com or call her at 847-657-6807.
On Saturday, August 11, over sixty ISP students, supporters, and national board members celebrated the arrival of eight new students with a picnic on the lakefront. Although co-founders Gabe Huck and Theresa Kubusak weren’t able to join us, we are all thankful that they are safely out of Syria and will be coming to the area in November.
Thanks to Neighbors for Peace, who hosted the event, along with the ISP DePaul support group, especially Margaret Clarke and folks from St. Nicholas.
Welcome to Safana, entering as a freshman at DePaul. She graduated from high school in Baghdad and has lived in Damascus for the last two years. She hopes to become an architect because she can express her ideas through designing buildings. Safana joins Hala, who is entering her senior year.
Chicagoland friends of the Iraqi Student Project will have a rare opportunity on Saturday, August 11, from 3 to 5 pm. Not only will you be able to welcome the eight new ISP students to the US, (see photos above), you will also meet as many as ten current Iraqi scholarship students, some in their senior year at local universities, and some, such as Karam, who have already graduated (You may remember the wonderful fund-raising concerts Karam gave for Hala, the first ISP DePaul student.) You’ll be especially welcoming Safana, the second ISP student to matriculate at DePaul. Co-hosts—Neighbors for Peace and the DePaul and Loyola ISP support groups—also hope to welcome and thank the several Chicago friends who are temporarily or permanently hosting ISP students.
The ISP Executive Director, some of the staff, and members of the Board of Directors will also be attending the picnic. They will be pleased to answer any questions you have about the Project and the wonderful students who are receiving good US educations, thanks to generous universities and the support of friends like you. (Unfortunately, co-founders and friends, Gabe Huck and Theresa Kubasak, will still be en route Syria to the US and unable to attend this celebration.)
Some of the students may be observing the Ramadan fast, but will be happy to greet you nevertheless and we’re providing take-away containers so they may carry their food with them to eat after sundown.
Please bring table service and a dish to pass if you can and come at 3:00 to Dawes Park, part of the Evanston park system and located between Lake and Greenwood in Evanston (See map at http://icjpe.org/uploads/img/dawespark.jpg ). Ice, watermelon, tableware, and grilling skill will be provided.
Books containing writings of the 2012 and earlier students will be available for purchase. For missives from Gabe and Theresa and information about all of ISP and especially the new students, see http://iraqistudentproject.org/. To support ISP DePaul, see the information to the right; to support Sarab at ISP Loyola, visit http://isployola.org. Questions about the August 11 picnic? Contact Timi Papas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The contrast between the 2011 Iraqi Student Project kayak-a-thon and the 2012 kayak-a-thon could not have been more dramatic. Where the volunteers last year had to contend with 50 F temperatures and winds high enough to cause white caps on the Skokie Lagoons, this year’s band of hardies enjoyed a sunny 80F day with a gentle wind wafting cotton candy clouds across a blue sky. That’s Chicago for you. If you get one extreme, you can expect the other extreme to follow in short order. Northwest Passage once again prepared the participants with their customary expertise. While most of the participants were very comfortable with kayaking, there were two newbies who deserve special recognition.
Karam Salem, an ISP student recently graduated from Holy Cross College, had never kayaked before. While the Tigris River flows through Baghdad, kayaking isn’t a sport that is commonplace in the Middle East. He was partnered with Hala, the DePaul student for whom the benefit was organized. Hala has embraced kayaking since last year and made Karam feel very at ease on the water.
Another participant who needs to be singled out for recognition is Heidi Musser of Morton Grove. Heidi had never kayaked before but she is a woman who makes a practice of rising to challenges. Blind from birth, Heidi has achieved the distinction of “Iron Man” from participation in sports events across the country. She is a strong swimmer and has even done the “Escape from Alcatraz” swim in San Francisco. Heidi partnered with her mother, Erica Musser. Her dad, Fred Musser, did a solo kayak to make it a family affair.
After the kayak-a-thon, all the participants enjoyed a shore pizza party which included a joint birthday celebration for Hala, who turned 23 in May and Elizabeth Mertic of Evanston, an Iraqi Student Project support group stalwart whose birthday fell on May 19th, the day of the kayak-a-thon.
After the party, Karam, who is a concert pianist and composer, prepared for the evening. At St. Nick’s Church in Evanston, he performed a program of original works for piano. All who attended enjoyed his musical stylings in “the many voices of Arabic”. In a masterful piece of improvisation, Karam then elicited a musical motif from the audience, upon which he created an original piece of music on the spot.
Both Hala and Karam are very grateful to all those who volunteered or attended the weekends benefits. While our troops have returned from Iraq for the most part, there is still nothing like a stable civil society there as yet. The students hope that in addition to raising needed money for school expenses for displaced Iraqi Students, events like the kayak-a-thon and the concert will raise awareness of the need to continue to provide lifelines for the youth of Iraq upon whom a free society will be built. They are very grateful to the colleges who have offered them an avenue to undergraduate education. DePaul University will be welcoming an additional Iraqi student this fall.
If you have a schedule conflict and can’t attend one if Karam’s concerts, you may help him to fulfill his goals by clicking here.
If you’re interested in seeing any of these beautiful pieces in person,contact Margaret Sents at 847-657-6807. All proceeds from their sale will go directly to the Iraqi Student Project.
All are the work of Zainab, an Iraqi widow and single parent to two talented sons. One of them, Zainab, is an ISP student at Grinnell College.
A professor of fine arts at Baghdad University, Zainab knows firsthand that Iraqi universities have been severely degraded since the invasion. A renowned ceramist in Iraq, she’s been unable to get the materials with which to create in terra cotta and stoneware clay. Fortunately, she visited Bud and Margaret Sents in 2010 and was thrilled to learn that the Sents are also ceramists, with a small clay studio in their home. In Illinois, Zainab was able to work again and to craft several fine pieces, which are displayed below.
She has left these sculptures in the care of the DePaul ISP support group, donating them to ISP in hopes that they can be used to raise awareness of the program which has served her son and other talented students from Iraq.
East meets west in this beautiful collection of ceramic sculptures executed in the ancient coil method and then fired. Some are left unglazed and have a primitive feel while others are glazed in rich greens and blacks.
The sculptures, all table size (12” to 22”) and suitable for summer outdoor use, are figurative yet abstract. They successfully blend ancient motifs with modern influences and truly bridge Middle Eastern and Western cultures. Contact Margaret Sents at the phone above or at email@example.com to view them in person. In addition, ISP DePaul is actively seeing venues for display and will gratefully entertain requests from colleges, libraries, or galleries.