Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

How Syrian Refugees Are Succeeding in Latin America

An AQ special section looks at the success stories, the challenges, and the ways all of us could do more to help.
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Syrian refugee Nada Alshebli jokes with a Uruguayan companion (Matilde Compodonico/AP)

The Syrian refugee crisis is one of the great humanitarian causes of our time. In Latin America, many countries have welcomed migrants with open arms. In this special section from our first issue of 2016, AQ looks at the success stories, the challenges, and the ways all of us could do more to help.

We begin with a reminder that movement between Latin America and the Middle East is nothing new. Ever tried tacos al pastor or sipped on yerba mate? The influence that MIddle Eastern migration has had on these and other iconic Latin American traditions might surprise you, as our piece on the centuries-old ties between the two regions shows.

We also take a closer look at some more recent arrivals. Some share stories of triumph, as with Ali Jeratli, who arrived in São Paulo speaking just one word of Portuguese and ended up as an on-the-pitch translator at the World Cup in 2014. Or Essa Hassan, the first Syrian student to arrive in Mexico as part of a non-profit educational program. 

For others, the journey has been more difficult. The Alshebli family arrived in Uruguay looking for a place to rebuild, but found that life away from Syria was not quite what they had imagined. 

Finally, we asked some of the region’s most incisive thinkers to consider what Latin American policymakers can do to make sure the region is accomplishing all it can to help ease the plight of those affected by the war in Syria. 

See the links below for more on the Syrian refugee crisis and Latin America.

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Any opinions expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect those of Americas Quarterly or its publishers.

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