The student-led movement to end mass atrocities.

Being a Regional Organizer: Carly Fabian


Why did you first get involved in STAND and how have you been involved since then?

I first became involved with STAND when I started a chapter at my high school. I loved being involved as a chapter president, and when I graduated, I really want to stay involved and share what I had learned with other chapters. So I joined the Managing Committee as a regional organizer, and it’s been one of my very best decisions!

Name a favorite STAND memory!

One of my favorite memories was at the Lemkin Summit, when I got to participate in a lobby meeting with staffers from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In the meeting, we got to present our points about each conflict and have an amazing discussion about how to approach change in the Central African Republic. Hearing from the staffers about their commitment to the conflicts and faith in the power of student movements motivated me to work even harder this Spring!

What has your experience being on the MC been like?

Being a member of the MC has been a truly amazing experience and the best part of my year. While we often get sidetracked by food puns and cute animal pictures, the MC is a dedicated and hard-working group of people who are committed to the cause. Working in a community of people who care so much about genocide prevention is energizing, and I love being able to work with so many students across my region as well!

Can you tell us a little about what you do in your role as Regional Organizer?

I’m help run STAND’s Mid-Atlantic region, which means I work with chapters to help them get started, create new events, and build their membership. A lot of my job is connecting students with resources, discussing campaigns, and giving advice on the ins and outs of running their chapter and how to engage with national campaigns. If you like communicating, organizing, and helping other student leaders, this is the right position for you!

What’s one thing you’ve learned from your time in STAND, whether as a result of your experiences with your chapter, or being involved on the national level?

The biggest thing I have learned is that young people can make truly innovative change when we work together. From national emails, petitions, and lobbying to art campaigns, teach-ins, and blogging, students have demonstrated that they are capable of getting creative to make the change we need from the ground up. After seeing the energy and amazing events that chapters in my region have created, I know that students will stop at nothing to make meaningful change for a better world.

Carly is a freshman at American University. Reach out to her at

Being a Regional Organizer: Francesca Freeman

FrancescaWhen I was approached to apply for the MC, I was slightly ambivalent—I was nervous about committing to too much and giving up some of my already limited spare time. However, I eventually decided to apply, and I am glad I did because I view that decision as one of the best decisions I have ever made.  From the little things, such as the excitement I feel when I see a message on our group chat, to the larger things—the amazing friends that I have made and come to rely on—being on the STAND MC has been of the best experiences of my life.

One of my favorite things about STAND is the amazing community of passionate, inspirational students that it brings together. As a Regional Organizer on the STAND Managing Committee, you are part of two such amazing communities. The first is the Managing Committee (MC) as a whole. The people who make up the MC are some of the most talented, motivated, and kind people I have ever met. We create a (slightly dysfunctional) family that does all the important things together: celebrate successes, mourn tragedies, and come together at least once a week (and normally more) to talk about what’s happening next in our lives and for STAND.

The second is the community of chapter leaders that you interact with on a regular basis. As a Regional Organizer (RO), your main job is to support your chapters in whatever way they need and to ensure that they become empowered leaders of the anti-genocide movement. Through contact with chapter leaders, RO’s are given a unique opportunity to not only facilitate grassroots actions, but also see the incredible power that specific grassroots actions and movements have that make the world just a slightly better place. Throughout the year, you create strong bonds with the chapter leaders, and I consider my chapter leaders as really close friends.

I hope that you will consider applying to join this amazing STAND MC Family! If you have any questions about the Regional Organizer position in particular, or about any other position on the Managing Committee, feel free to email me!

Francesca is a junior at the University of Chicago.

Perspectives on Syria: No One Can Thrive On #Just825


Visiting a Syrian family, the food is endless. Stuffed peppers and hummus drizzled with olive oil are followed by plates laden down with roast lamb and rice, and delicious sweets like halawat al jibin, rice pudding or baklawa. Syrian culture is all about hospitality and family. A mom and her kids might sit around the table together rolling tangy yabra (grape leaves), talking and laughing.

I once had the best chocolate eclair ever, found in a back corner of the Damascus suk, under the bullet-pierced tin roof, another legacy of the French. I sipped thick, sludgy Arabic coffee in a roadside cafe overlooking the city, while a family picniced on a rock outcropping below.

As a guest, you would never leave a Syrian table hungry, and this spirit of hospitality pervades the country’s history. Prior to the current crisis, Syria had welcomed tens of thousands of Palestinian, Armenian, and Iraqi refugees and was one of the largest recipients of displaced persons in the region.

That’s all changed now.

The conflict has decimated Syria’s means of food production and the sharp and continuous devaluation of the Syrian pound puts purchasing food out of reach for many who were formerly self-sufficient.

Nearly 13 million people inside Syria and refugees in bordering countries rely on food assistance for sustenance. The World Food Program (WFP) needs $35 million each week to deliver its food assistance of basics such as lentils, flour, cooking oil, and rice. Kebab and fresh vegetables are a distant memory for many of Syria’s displaced. Funding shortages have forced the WFP to reduce portion sizes – in November to as few as 825 calories per person per day and in December to suspend food aid altogether to 1.7 million in need.

These food shortages are leaving some families in the heart-wrenching position of having to marry off their young daughters in hopes that older husbands can provide for them and reduce the burden on the family.

The World Food Program conducted a 72-hour campaign this week featuring the hashtag #ADollarALifeline and the inspiring Aloe Blacc song “I Need A Dollar.” The campaign was considered a great success and it raised enough money to resume assistance for December and part of January — but it’s still not enough.

 Yesterday, an elderly man in the elevator at my office was holding a package of “French and Middle Eastern Pastries.” Recounting the story of the eclair to him, he said, “Yes, I grew up in Damascus! I remember the best ice cream too. It’s all gone now.”

ham and swiss plus latte.jpg

Many organizations are working to relieve hunger in Syria and provide long-lasting, sustainable solutions to ensure healthy diets and full bellies. Read more about the challenges Syrians face and discover some of the innovative nutrition, agriculture and food assistance projects designed to support them by following @just_825 on Twitter and visiting

No one can thrive on just 825 calories a day. But together we can help.

Karen Hansen is the Membership and Programs Manager for Radio Television Digital News Association and Operations Director for the Washington, DC Younger Women’s Task Force.

Christy Delafield is the former Liaison for Humanitarian Aid of the Syrian Coalition.

Read the whole Perspectives on Syria series here!

Counting the Dead

Exploring the Historical Trend of Artist Oppression

Refugee Crisis

No One Can Thrive On #Just825

STAND Statement on US Airstrikes in Syria & Iraq

As the student-led mission to prevent mass-atrocities, we are writing in collaboration with members of the international community to express our deep concern about United States-led airstrikes in Syria and Iraq.  We urge President Obama to honor international humanitarian law by minimizing harm to civilians during U.S. military operations in Iraq and Syria.

Just one week ago, President Obama confirmed that the U.S. would not apply the principle of “near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured” in its operations in Iraq and Syria, given that they are areas of “active hostilities.”  This news came with reports of dozens of civilian deaths in Syria following a U.S. airstrike in Kafr Daryan.  Bearing in mind that military action is bound by the principles of distinction, proportionality and necessity, the United States has a clear obligation to prevent civilian deaths, even in its crucial operations in Iraq and Syria.

Failing to take adequate measures to prevent civilian deaths not only violates international humanitarian law, but also runs counter to the stated strategy to degrade and destroy the Islamic State. Civilian casualties have already caused popular Syrian discontent with American bombings in the country and caused Syrian resentment toward moderate armed opposition groups the White House plans to train and equip. Several Syrian commanders of such groups have also expressed their dissatisfaction with the air strikes and the high civilian casualties that the strikes have caused. Ultimately, civilian deaths caused by U.S. bombing only strengthens support for the Islamic State and other violent extremist groups as they seek to portray the United States and its allies as the enemy of the Syrian people.

Acknowledging that information both from US military and groups on the ground is often difficult to verify, STAND would like to echo the questions of the letter drafted by The Prevention and Protection Working Group and addressed to President Obama:

  • What special precautions is the U.S. taking to protect civilians endangered by U.S. military operations?

  • What steps are being taken not to harm health facilities, medical personnel, or other first responders, and to avoid further damage to systems and infrastructure that support necessary services including water and food?

  • What are the diplomatic strategies that the U.S. government is pursuing both with Iraqi tribal leaders in Sunni majority areas vulnerable to IS recruitment efforts as well as with partners like Turkey and Qatar, and civil society leaders and organizations? How is the U.S. engaging diplomatically with these same internal and external actors to peel away and present viable nonviolent alternatives to those who have joined IS?

  • Underscoring the need for long-term solutions and recognizing that airstrikes are incapable of reaching a successful resolution to the crisis, how is the U.S. government engaging in peacebuilding and development in the short term and beyond to support a successful transition out of cycles of violence?

  • What is the U.S. doing to investigate reports of civilians being killed and any allegations of violations of international humanitarian law on the part of U.S. armed forces or that of U.S. partners, including the September 23 incident in the village of Kafr Daryan?

Syrian civilians are already feeling the effects of United States airstrikes.  Many have been forced to flee, and those who have not face dire humanitarian crises ahead.  Furthermore, in Iraq civilians face conditions that the UN claims may amount to serious human rights violations and war crimes.  In light of these conditions, we urge the United States to be vigilant in protecting civilians in Iraq and Syria.

In Solidarity,

STAND: the Student-led Movement to End Mass Atrocities


A Moment of Kat-tharsis

“Who run the world? Kat.” – Beyoncé Knowles 

Today STAND is honoring Senior Manager Kat Fallon as she moves on to a new position with the Syrian American Medical Society as their Advocacy & Communications Manager! We are so excited for Kat as she moves into this new role and feel incredibly lucky to have worked with her over the past few years. We will miss her amazing and thoughtful work at STAND, but we are excited to know that we are all working to engage in the most important conversations and movements of our time. She has been an amazing staff member and she will be severely missed! Who will we turn to now for feminist discussions, Beyonce references, and life advice?! We wish Kat all the best and can’t wait to see her continue to change the world!

Hello from STAND’s new Student Director!

This post is written by Natasha Kieval, STAND’s 2014-2015 national Student Director. Natasha is a rising senior at Tufts University.

The genocide and mass atrocity prevention movement is not something I’m new to – throughout my high school and early college years, I had been involved in Amnesty International, Tufts Against Genocide, and international work in Rwanda. However, STAND has proved to be an incredibly unique and wonderful organization in this movement.

Last summer, I was STAND’s Programs Intern. From day one on the job, I was hooked. As I was immediately welcomed into the community, given “work” like going to hearings on the hill, and taking breaks to watch Beyonce music videos- I knew STAND was one of a kind. Interacting with STAND staff and students continually challenges my thinking, pushing me forward to become a better, more considerate, thoughtful advocate while maintaining perspective and sanity in what can be a difficult position. Not only that, but this community shows unbelievable dedication, love and friendship for one another, and does all this with a positive attitude and great jokes (well, corny ones).

STAND’s achievements are many, and I don’t need to list them here, as it would take far too long and most of you are aware of them. So I will just end by saying that I am so honored to be given the opportunity to continue to work with STAND students, and I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together in the coming year. My vision for STAND involves well thought-out, developed programming that consists of long-term goals met by shorter term actions and action points. I hope that as we develop this programming, you will make your voice heard. STAND is first and foremost a community, and I hope together we can create a stronger, more effective student voice.