Wafic and Rosemary Said hosted the Said Foundation’s annual dinner on Saturday 14 April at the Hurlingham Club in London. The night was a celebration of the work of the Foundation, its partners and our students. Over 200 guests attended the dinner including UK Ministers, Ambassadors and other dignitaries, friends and representatives from partner organisations such as UNHCR, Save the Children, International Rescue Committee, the Said Business School, Turquoise Mountain, the British Lebanese Association and UK universities.
The evening was also a celebration of the achievements of our students including the 30 scholars from Syria, Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan who are currently being supported by the Foundation with their studies at UK universities, and the scholars studying for MBAs and DPhils at the Said Business School in Oxford.
Guests were moved by powerful speeches made by Sanj Srikanthan, Acting Senior Vice President, Europe and Executive Director of International Rescue Committee, and by Nur Arafeh who is one of our first Rhodes scholars. Nur is currently studying for a DPhil in International Development at the University of Oxford.
During the evening Rasha Said-Khawaja, Deputy Chair of the Said Foundation, presented this year’s Said Foundation Alumni Achievement Prize to Hiba Salem from Syria. Hiba spoke to guests about the impact her Said Foundation scholarship has had on her life so far and about the importance of her work in improving education for young Syrian refugee children in the region.
This year, the Foundation was also delighted that the London Syria Ensemble joined us for the evening and entertained our guests with a wonderful performance. The Ensemble is a collective of some of Syria's finest musicians, some long-term residents of the UK, others newly arrived. All have either studied or taught at the eminent Damascus Conservatoire. They bring the sounds of Syria through a diverse repertoire of classical and traditional music from the region. The Ensemble includes an oud, qanun, ney, violin, viola, double bass and percussion as well as guest vocalists.