Join us for a special screening of They Shall Not Perish in Syracuse, NY!

Aug 1, 2017

The Near East Foundation, Syracuse University’s Newhouse Center for Global Engagement and Middle Eastern Studies Program present an exclusive screening of They Shall Not Perish: The Story of Near East Relief

refugees walking with logos across

Friday, September 8th  |  5:30 – 7:30pm 

Hergenhan Auditorium (Newhouse School)
215 University Pl, Syracuse, NY 13210


(this event is free to attend, registration is requested due to limited seating)

Produced by NEF Board Member Shant Mardirossian and award-winning director George Billard, the documentary details the unprecedented humanitarian efforts of thousands of Americans who saved a generation of orphans and refugees during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and in the aftermath of the crisis that came to be known as the Armenian Genocide. The film teaches us the amazing role ordinary citizens can play in responding to humanitarian crises. Watch the trailer by clicking here.

Following the screening, Ken Harper, Director of the Newhouse Center for Global Engagement, will moderate a panel discussion with the filmmakers, Shant Mardirossian and George Billard, Near East Foundation President, Charles Benjamin, Interfaith Works CEO Beth Broadway, and Armenian-American author and historian Peter Balakian. The discussion will focus on lessons learned from the film and current efforts to support refugees and other marginalized populations in Syracuse and around the world.  Please read more about our panelists below.

The work that the Near East Foundation started a century ago continues to be reflected in its work today as the humanitarian crisis unfolds in the Middle East. NEF’s local teams are working on the ground, side by side, with Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Jordan and Lebanon helping them to gain economic independence and achieve self-sufficiency, primarily though entrepreneurship, vocational training, and livelihoods support. 

NEF entered into a strategic partnership with Syracuse University almost a decade ago, which opened the door to a new collaboration with both the Maxwell School’s Middle Eastern Studies Program and the Newhouse Center for Global Engagement, an organization dedicated to bringing knowledge to the world through storytelling, collaboration, and innovation.  

Parking is available at the Sheraton Hotel Parking Garage (corner of University Ave and Waverly) and the Crouse Hospital Parking Garage (corner of S. Crouse Ave and Waverly).

Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 2.35.07 PM

For media inquiries or other questions about the screening please contact Communications and Development Officer Andrea Crowley at Follow updates on the event on Facebook and Twitter. 



Shant Mardirossian                           Executive Producer



Shant Mardirossian is the Executive Producer of They Shall Not Perish: The Story of Near East Relief. In his professional life, Mr. Mardirossian is a Partner and the Chief Operating Officer at a leading U.S. middle-market private equity firm. He is a graduate of the Lubin School of Business at Pace University and holds a B.B.A. in Public Accounting and an M.B.A. with dual concentration in Investment Management and Strategic Management. His grandparents were all survivors of the Armenian Genocide and his paternal grandmother sought refuge in an American orphanage. They were the inspiration for the film.

George Billard
Writer, Director & Producer



George Billard is an award-winning producer, writer, director and cinematographer. To date he has helmed productions in over forty countries. His work includes commercials, television, documentaries and film. In addition to They Shall Not Perish, he is currently in production on Amateur, a documentary film about amateur cagefighters in New York, and They Call Me Killer, a documentary about an unusual state executioner. His original screenplay, Dispossessed, was awarded the Grand Prize for Best Screenplay at the 2015 Rhode Island International Film Festival.

Charlie Benjamin (1)






Dr. Charles Benjamin
President, Near East Foundation




Dr. Benjamin has over 25 years of experience in international development, with extensive experience in community development and natural resources management throughout the Middle East and Africa. He began his affiliation with the Near East Foundation in 1993 as Country Director in Morocco. After leaving Morocco, Dr. Benjamin was Senior Manager for a large international development consulting firm and a Professor of International Environment Issues and Development at Williams College. Dr. Benjamin became NEF’s President in 2010. Dr. Benjamin holds a PhD from the University of Michigan with a focus on decentralization and local institutional development in West Africa. He is a published author in the areas of natural resource management and policy.

peter balakian

Peter Balakian
Donald M. and Constance H. Rebar Professor in Humanities, department of English, Colgate University




Peter Balakian is the 2016 Pulitzer Prize Winner for poetry and author. His books of prose include Black Dog of Fate, which won the 1998 PEN/Martha Albrand Prize for the Art of the Memoir, and was a best book of the year for the New York Times, the LA Times, and Publisher’s Weekly. The Burning Tigris: Armenian Genocide and America’s Response won the 2005 Raphael Lemkin Prize and was a New York Times Notable Book and New York Times Best Seller. Balakian is the recipient of many awards, prizes and civic citations including a Movses Horenatis Medal from the Republic of Armenia, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and The Sependlove Prize for Social Justice, Tolerance, and Diplomacy. He has appeared widely on national television and radio. He is a Professor of English and the Director of Creative Writing at Colgate University.







Beth Broadway
CEO and President, Interfaith Works





Beth A. Broadway is President/CEO of InterFaith Works (IFW), a nonprofit organization that affirms the dignity of each person and every faith community. IFW is one of the largest refugee resettlement agencies in New York State and has undertaken this work for over 35 years. Prior to becoming president, Ms. Broadway led the Community Wide Dialogue to End Racism (CWD), a program of InterFaith Works, in Syracuse. There, she designed and facilitated the Leadership Classroom, a project of the Central New York Community Foundation, which provides training for neighborhood leaders to develop projects that improve neighborhoods and engages neighborhood residents in their community. Some of her awards include: NYS Woman of Distinction for Senator Dave Valesky; Peace Award, Peace Action of Central New York; Diversity Achievers Award, YWCA of CNY and the Human Rights Award, Human Rights Commission of Syracuse/Onondaga County.

Ken Harper






Moderated by: Ken Harper
Associate professor and director of the Newhouse Center for Global Engagement at Syracuse University



Ken Harper is an award-winning designer, professor, photojournalist and media educator. He has worked as a multimedia designer and producer for The Rocky Mountain News,, New York Life, Bausch & Lomb and various nonprofit organizations including the United Nations, the Bahá’í Faith, The Electronic Intifada and Aidchild. Currently, Harper is an associate professor and director of the Newhouse Center for Global Engagement at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. Harper’s role in the Center stems from his long history in working internationally and he is now sharing that passion by bringing the classroom into the world and the world into the classroom. Harper holds a master’s degree from Ohio University’s School of Visual Communication and an undergraduate degree in photojournalism from Western Kentucky University.



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