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PhD student composes music for UN Refugee Agency campaign

Zaina Shihabi Tuesday 17 May 2016

A piece composed by Music Doctoral student Zaina Shihabi is helping the UN Refugee Agency to raise awareness about the plight of the people of Syria.

Voices for Refugees in an international campaign calling for people across the globe to sign an online petition to help end the Syrian crisis.

Led by more than 100 humanitarian organisations, the campaign centres on a minute-long video featuring clips from dozens of people stating their support.

The musical track accompanying the video was composed by Zaina after a friend who was working on the campaign approached her.

She told THIS Radio: “My friend’s agency produced the video and he knows how important the cause is to me personally - being half Syrian - and so he asked me to compose the music.

“Oversaturation of news removes the shock value and so the aim is to remind people these are human beings, not just numbers or images that people don’t want to see. They are just like you or me - in fact they are me.”

The video is set to air at Cannes Film Festival, which is hosted annually in France, and attracts industry stars from across the globe.

Zaina described working on the piece as a “dream come true” and her delight at hearing it would air at Cannes.

“I’m extremely excited, it’s such an honour, as it’s such a prestigious event. I really hope the video reaches people, and encourages them to use their voices to reach out for those who can’t.

“When it comes to music, I think it moves people. It’s a universal language and every major event or crisis within history has been supported by music. It really brings people together and raises funds and touches hearts.”

Listen to Zaina’s interview with THIS Radio.

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