Navigating the Space Between Home and Exile

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Photo ID: 1482
Gallery ID: 132 - Exiled Life in Syria
Photo Title: Navigating the Space Between Home and Exile
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Sheryl Mendez | View this photographers information and photos
Sheryl A. Mendez graduated holds a B.A. in Political Science and Journalism, Rutgers University and an in International Affairs, The New School for Social Research, New York. Mendez is a cofounder of The Crimes of War Project and is currently the photo editor and case researcher on the 2nd edition of the book, Crimes of War: What the Public Should Know (W.W. Norton & Co.) She is also a freelance photo and radio journalist and has been published by The London Sunday Times Magazine, The Christian Science Monitor, The Washington Post, Dagbladet (Sweden), Chosun Ilbo (Korea), The Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, Nouvel Obs(France),Graphis, and National Public Radio's, This American Life, among others. From 2000 to November 2005, she was the NY Editor of Photography of US News & World Report magazine. Prior to this, she was an Editor with Magnum Photos, New York working on story development and editorial projects. Since the mid-90s, she has traveled throughout the Middle East and Asia covering social and political change and human rights. In 2007, she formed Offline: Events, a non-governmental, non-profit organization In July 2007, she formed Offline Events, a non-profit, non-governmental organization bringing filmmakers, journalists, authors, and dance performers to European audiences for dialogue. The first event of Offline Events Offline Baghdad (Not Just another Film Festival) was held in Milan, Italy at Spazio8 from December 13 16, 2007 bringing Iraqi filmmakers, journalists, authors, dance performers, and fixers to tell of their firsthand accounts of living and working in Iraq and the risks that they face. Mendez has traveled extensively throughout the Middle East, Asia, and Africa on collaborative documentary book projects. In 2007, she covered the war in Lebanon and traveled to Iraq on three separate trips in 2003, 2004, and 2005 documenting the aftermath of war. She is on the board of November 11, non profit organization working toward the development of dialogue and imaginative ideas by engaging with independent authors who pursue innovation in form and/or content in the visual arts, journalism, and in emerging fields. Between 2006 - mid 2008 Mendez was based between Beirut, Lebanon and Damascus, Syria. Currently she is living in New York. In December 2008, she was the recipient of the Every Human Has Rights Media Award awarded by Internews International and The Elders.
Iraq remains one of the most dangerous places in the world. Its refugee crisis is worsening. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees UNHCR, since the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, an estimated 4.7 million have been displaced both within and outside Iraq and for many the situation is desperate. Many refugees are finding it difficult to survive, said Philip Luther, Deputy Director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Programme. They are banned from working and unable to pay rents, buy adequate food for themselves and their families, or obtain medical treatment. Those lucky enough to escape Iraq rely on savings which, for many, are rapidly running out. Many families are destitute and facing impossible choices and new risks, like having to resort to child labour and the prospect of being forced through circumstances to undertake voluntary return to Iraq.

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