CAHSS History Class Hosts Zoom Session with the Syrian Emergency Task Force

The course, HIST 4700, Genocide in the 20th Century and Beyond, offered by the Department of History and Political Science (DHPS) in NSU’s College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences (CAHSS) ended the term with a Zoom meeting with the Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF).  After visiting Poland, Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia, and sites such as Auschwitz and Srebrenica, and meeting with survivors of the Bosnian genocide, one last step was to talk with a survivor of the current catastrophe in Syria. Connecting with the Syrian Emergency Task Force, students in HIST 4700 were honored with a 2-hour Zoom session featuring Mouaz Moustafa, the executive director of SETF, and Natalie Larrison, the director of outreach.  They run a host of programs including supporting an orphanage and providing humanitarian aid and support for people in Syria.

As part of the session, Omar Aslhogre, a survivor of torture in Assad’s prisons, spoke to the class describing his experiences, and how he survived. Arrested seven times by the time he was 17, his final arrest resulted in a brutal stay of three years in various Syrian Prisons, including the notorious Sedanya Prison. He told the story of the “University of Whispers.”  He finally escaped after his mother paid a bribe. Upon his release, Aslhogre weighed barely 75 pounds. Aslhogre has also testified before Congress and along with Moustafa, has been instrumental in getting the Caesar Bill passed by Congress and signed by the President.

Gary Gershman, J.D., Ph.D., professor in the DHPS and course instructor, arranged the Zoom session. He has a working relationship with the SETF. Gershman was one of two recipients of the 2017 Curt C. and Else Silberman Faculty Seminar Follow-Up Grant for the United States

For more information about the Syrian Emergency Task Force, please see their website at:  To access Aslhogre’s TedTalk, please go to  For more information about the course, please contact Gershman at