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A touching life story of overcoming difficulties

mariela-shaker

Mariela Shaker

travels from UK, USA

An incredibly talented violinist and Syrian refugee sharing the message of peace and love through her beautiful music

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About Mariela

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A skilled and accomplished violinist from Syria, kynote speaker Mariela Shaker survived the war in her home country by receiving a music scholarship in America. Her keynotes give an insight into her incredible life story and journey. 

During the conflict in Syria, Mariela Shaker graduated from The University Of Aleppo where she studied business administration and she also worked as a violin teacher at the Arabic Institute Of Music. At the same time she would seek out internet cafés, hiding from bomb and mortar attacks, applying to schools around the world.

As she was unable to return back home, Shaker was given permanent residency in the US, her now home, but her family is still in Aleppo, trying their best to survive on a day to day basis. She hopes one day to be reunited with them but as of yet the future remains uncertain.

In America, Mariela Shaker has received a second scholarship so she can pursue a master’s degree in music performance at the DePaul University and she is also active giving talks and speaks about her story and her music, trying to raise awareness of the war in Syria and how it affects everybody who lives there. In the process she has presented speaks at the Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, for members of Congress and more. In 2015 President Obama honoured her at the White House as a Champion of Change.

Shaker’s list of clients include The United Nations, UNHCR, CARE, Beyond Boarders International Festival, Aspen Ideas Festival, MIT, Georgetown, The Barbican Center, King’s College Chapel and Harvard University. She also holds the title of Goodwill Peace Ambassador of the World Council of Aramean and Ambassador of the Points of Light Organisation as well as High Profile Supporter for UNHCR. Both The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Chicago Tribune and Woman’s Day have written about her. BuzzFeed wrote: ‘Fled Syria And Found Refuge On The Stage. Mariela Shaker is singular. A virtuoso.’

Mariela Shaker is passionate about speaking to people and audiences all over the world, eager to share her message of peace and love through music, and through encouraging young people to pursue their own dreams. Mariela travels frequently between the USA and the UK, conducting both speaking engagements and performances.

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    Speaker Mariela Shaker Keynote Topics

    • Mariela’s Life Story
    • Music
    • Overcoming Adversity
Watch speaker Mariela Shaker in action

Get inspired by Mariela's Story of Hope from the Syrian Civil War

See keynotes with Mariela Shaker
10.19.2017

Interview with Mariela Shaker

How important is music as a tool for peace?

I truly believe that music is a very powerful language. It breaks boundaries between people and nations, and it makes our world more compassionate and tolerant. Through my music, I get to tell the story of my suffering city and people. I hope music will help healing the pain our world has felt and create peace platform for everyone.

How much does humor factor into your keynotes and other speaking engagements?

I of course tackle a very sensitive topic when I speak about vulnerable people fleeing their homes, and students who lost their future. My goal is to draw attention to their suffer and pain. However, this life cannot be possible without that sense of joy and humor. It has always been part of my personality even at the most difficult time.

What do you think is a common misconception of the conflict in Syria?

The conflict in Syria is a complex. It is something that I cannot understand. But what I am sure about that civilians are the only victim in this savage war. My heart breaks to see what my family and people in my country are going through. People in Syria from the different backgrounds and religions live together at the same neighborhood sharing Christmas and Ramadan. Now during war, they even share their bread and water. This what makes me feel hopeful. Islam and Christians in Syria form harmony together. A mosaic fine antique piece.

What do you gain personally from being a public speaker?

First, raising awareness about humanitarian catastrophe which is still going on and affecting many innocent civilians. Second, trying to help and support these people and refugees in general through fundraising events. Being a White House Champion of Change 2015 and High Profile Supporter for UNHCR, I am so keen to do whatever I can to help people in need and save their lives.

Who or what inspires you most?

I am inspired by the people who contributed a lot to my journey and changed my life. It is also fascinating to always meet special human beings who are eager to help others. These beautiful souls and so blessed. They simply give their heart out without waiting to get anything back.

See keynotes with Mariela Shaker
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Keynote topics with Mariela Shaker