CommuniTea in Arabic

Amale Andraos - Dean of the Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.

November 15, 2020 Anwar Jebran & Malek Abdulsamad Season 1 Episode 1
CommuniTea in Arabic
Amale Andraos - Dean of the Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.
Show Notes Transcript

We highlight successful stories of Arab Americans and Arab Canadians who positively impact the community. Sponsored by Lipton Yellow Label.

In this episode, we chat with Dean Amale Andraos.

She is a New York-based architect. She is dean of the Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. She is the co-founder of the New York City architecture firm WORKac with her husband, Dan Wood.

Hosts: Anwar Jebran and Malek Abdulsamad.
Music (Special Cover): https://www.basselmusic.com/

Please visit our website, and follow up on social media and watch us on Youtube:
https://linktr.ee/communiteainarabic

Speaker 1:

Welcome to community in Arabic, a podcast show sponsored by Lyft and yellow label. We'll be chatting with successful Arabs in the U S and Canada, and learning about their journey and how they positively impact their community. We are your hosts, Malika and animal zebra. We're really excited to welcome Dean MLM drivers . She's the Dean of the school of architecture, planning, and preservation Columbia university. I'm a graduate of McGill university for undergrad and then Harvard university for grad school. Um, thank you very much for being here with us.

Speaker 2:

Thank you both. This is very , uh , wonderful.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, really excited to have you. I thank you so much for taking the time. Uh, we'd love to have this conversation, of course. So we'd love to learn more about , uh, you know , uh , this interesting journey , uh, being of course , uh, in Europe then, then Canada then , uh, then the United States. Uh, would you tell us more about that?

Speaker 2:

I was born in, in they route , uh, in 1973. Um, and , um, my first , uh, memories were memories of anxiety about the war. Uh, you know, I was , uh , two and a half or so , uh, and , uh, just, you know, I would stay up , uh, at my grandmother's house, hearing the family talk about where every, everyone was going to go, you know , uh, Saudi Arabia who was going to stay. So then kind of idea of , uh , leaving , uh, and , and , and , uh, immigrating was very, very much , um, uh , sort of part of my psyche in a way. Um, and so we left when I was three , uh, and , uh, my father who is a painter and an architect , uh, actually practiced architecture for about 10 years and Lebanon , uh , before the war started. And then , uh, as a result of the war and started a company in , uh, in , uh, Hoba called the Arabian Polyfab , he was focusing on prefabricated housing and kind of , uh , working on competitions for you , you towns in Saudi. And , uh, and so we moved to Saudi , uh , and , uh, it was an interesting, you know, very interesting time , uh, sort of complex, you know, as a child. Uh, it was a very happy childhood going to the beach and , uh , very kind of hours , um, sort of living, but at the same time, you know, obviously as I , I grew up, it became more complicated when I understood the difference between the genders and , uh, um, and , um, but certainly sort of my father is a passion for building and being on construction sites and , uh, effected , um, inspired me in some, in some ways , um, and already , uh, then, you know , uh, we, my was really half French, half Arabic , uh, and I learned English on the , um, Aramco, Washington sunny street. So we moved to Paris , uh , when I was 11. Uh, and , um, and there, I went to middle and high school , um, was also an interesting time of being , uh, sort of inside and outside. I think that's kind of the experience of moving is that you, you're never really part of a place. Um, but I think that that sometimes feels isolating, but , uh, in another way, as an architect, it offers you this notion that you can always see things from somebody else's perspective, right. Which is so crucial to what we do. We , we, it's not just projecting what we think it's hearing and discovering what the others . And so I think that's a very , uh, sort of interesting strength to be inside and outside of the other place. And, you know, in Paris, I , I literally, I had my French friends and my Lebanese friends, you know, and I, I did, they just didn't mix very well. So I just kept these two sides separate , uh, I mean, they're connected in me, but, but somehow I couldn't, I couldn't bring them together in , in reality, but I bring them together through my work, you know, now, and then finally in, in , uh, uh, I guess in, when I graduated from the French baccalaureate , uh , we moved to, to Montreal and this was a really , um , kind of, we immigrated to Canada. My parents felt like you never really become French. And so , um , uh , Canada was welcoming , um, and , uh , went to, I didn't, you know, I, I didn't want to be an architect because my father was an architect. So I ended up doing a year of economics, which I didn't really enjoy him , but I had to do well because finally I decided that architecture was really what I wanted to do, even though he was an architect. And so , um, so when I finally got into architecture school at Miguel , it really, I felt like I found , uh , a new family and new home, a community, you know , select your family , uh , that , uh, and so it really became the place where architecture became , uh, the discipline, where I found that, you know, as, as architecture can kind of bring many different things together and they don't have to be perfectly resolved, you know , you don't have to choose, you can, you can maintain a sense of tension or conflict in design, and it becomes a hybrid. It becomes something else. And I, I really love that complexity of architecture, especially to think about issues of culture and, you know , how, you know, what, what are our differences, what, what brings us together. And , uh, it was just a wonderful time. Uh, and , uh, Montreal had, again, a very, very large , uh, increasing community of , uh, Arab immigrants. Um, it was, it was really great because it wasn't just Lebanese. It was a kind of, very much, much broader and richer , uh , community. And I really felt we came together , uh , as Arabs, you know , uh, in a way that in , in Paris where it was a little bit more like the more you, the further you left Lebanon, the more you could come together in new ways. And I thought that was wonderful. Um, and then I, you know , um, wanting to go to graduate school, apply to both Columbia and Harvard, and then in the end, decided to go to Harvard. Um, um , sort of I wanted , um, uh , was very interested in , um, studying with REM Koolhaas was teaching there at the time. Uh, and so the second year at Harvard, I joined , uh , REMS , um , sort of what he calls he called at the time, the Harvard project on the city. And what I liked about Ram's approach is that he already was an architect who was really moving away from a kind of Eurocentric narrative of architecture and, you know, sort of asking the question, you know, what is globalization, what is globalization doing to architecture? Why aren't we studying all these other places that are urbanizing, whether it's , uh , the UAE or China, or either sort of always pushing the boundaries and not sort of centering the field always in the same kind of very European perspective. And so I was very interested in that much more global, much more culturally rich , um, approach to thinking about cities and architecture. And after working with studying with Ram , I ended up moving to Rotterdam to work for his firm or me and my current husband and partner then word was , um, sort of a principal at the firm , uh, at the time I was an intern, you know , so it was a little bit unbalanced. Um, but , uh, Oh, I may was amazing , uh, just, you know, young, hungry , uh, architects , uh, uh, from around the world, just kind of cutting their teeth. So it was cool after this , after school , you know, and I, I think I really cherish that, and it's something that in our practice we try to do as well. You know, it's not just about, it's really about teaching and mentoring and , and creating this environment where anyone's ideas is are , is welcome or welcome, you know, there's this kind of sense of creativity, but also criticism. And so that was form formational . Um, and then, you know, we got married then and I got married in , uh, Rotterdam and on September 1st, 2001, and it was really a great celebration of cultures coming together. We have family from the middle East, you know, his time he came from the us , we had our friends from all over the world and , and tenure , 10 days later, September 11 happened. And it was a really just re we had this very strong sense that the world and our world, especially the kind of relationship between the us and the middle East was going to change even more radically. And , uh, but to be honest, we didn't, we didn't really know. We knew we, it was time for us maybe to leave Europe , um, that this wasn't a place where we could start on kind of life together. Um, and REM was moving to China. We weren't ready to go East yet. Uh, the middle East seemed difficult for them. Um, so, you know, the us was a little bit of a default choice because I could have trouble , right. I think we're adaptable as, as Arabs as Lebanese. And so, but first we tried Los Angeles actually for a few months. Uh, and , um, I just felt it was too far from my center. It was too far from Lebanon, from the middle East, from Europe's in New York. You know, again, New York was a choice , uh , to be in the U S but not fully in the U S you know, to be in a global city and a city where people from very different backgrounds come together,

Speaker 3:

Thought process of choosing , uh, the U S and North America. Uh, was it because , uh, North America is a land of immigrants , uh , uh, there's a big Arab community here and , and of course the land of opportunity. Uh, Oh, was that part of the thought process when you, when you chose North America?

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. I mean, I think, you know, even from my family, right after living seven, eight years and, and friends, and it just, it just felt that we just weren't gonna , we could adapt, but we weren't gonna integrate fully. That was the feeling we had. That was the feeling my parents had and Quebec was welcoming us and Canada was welcoming us. And , um, so it , it really, the, the, so I , I would say the , the sort of big move was, was Canada first , um, and as a , as a, as a land of opportunity as a land. Um, and , um, and then from there kind of anchoring , uh , into kind of North America . Um, and yeah, I mean, I, you know, this , if I think of the, that I've had as a result of both moving to Canada and to the U S you know, it's a trajectory that , um, I don't know that I would have had anywhere else. So it , it , it is, it is hopefully still that possibility.

Speaker 4:

Um, so you lived in some of the most architecturally, significant cities in the world. I mean, from, from Paris to even like Boston, they're very distinct, you know, in New York and Los Angeles and Rotterdam and Montreal , um, you know , how did your career choice influence your choice of city where you want to live, you know, even within the U S or Canada to be like specifically in New York and not go back to Boston, for example, and not go back to LA.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's a , it's a really good question actually, because , um, I think that , um, you know, if you think of Paris , um, that wasn't my choice, but the sense of Paris, obviously that's , you know, the city that everybody dreams of, but it's really a kind of 19th century in the end city, or it's hard to think of adding. Um, it's hard to think of transforming such a perfect almost museum like city , um, and Rotterdam in contrast, that was one of the things that was interesting. And , um , the generation of architects like Ramco has, are , and we already are these architects that chose Rotterdam was because it wasn't Amsterdam, Rotterdam had been destroyed by the second world war. And so there was a lot of possibility for experimentation urbanistically and for thinking differently about architecture. And so that's, you know, that was even though it's kind of ugly, it was really kind of, sort of interesting. Um, and , uh, so then when we decided to start the practice, you know, Los Angeles is fascinating, but I think our sensibility, Dan and I is really much more urban and European in terms of this, this idea of urban density or, or walkability, or , uh , you know, that, that , uh, just to , just to kind of car culture didn't feel right. Um , I hate driving it, it just, it just didn't feel right, even though we love LA, it just didn't feel right for us. Like when I think , uh, and I think New York is really some sort of pragmatic a coming together of very many different histories and tendencies.

Speaker 4:

No , actually I can connect with that so much because I immigrated to New York first. And I always say New York is similar to home, although it's really not, but the similarity is in it being, you know , dense and walkable, and you can get everything around, you don't need, you don't need to drive anywhere. And then you get that sense of belonging, which after living in , in many cities, it feels like this is what we're looking for. It's not the buildings on the streets. It's really a sense of blogging somewhere where you can feel like this can be home for me. So that's and New York still, still

Speaker 2:

Does that. Right? You , you arrive in , you it's , it's sort of, you get your bearings very fast and, and it, it feels , um, like, like you can, you can, it feels accessible. Like it doesn't feel hidden , uh , uh, as, as kind of some European cities feel,

Speaker 4:

I was just going to say, I mean, just to follow up on the career choice, you also started a business in hyper competitive market, right. So D when you went there, did you think that New York is going to give you access to an international opportunities? Um, or just like so many other institutions that you want to be close to an institution like Columbia , um, or was it just the choice of this city, regardless of how tough is it going to be to make it in the city? And you're like, you know what, I'll get there and not compete.

Speaker 2:

I think it was the former, it was the sense that, you know, at the time there was , uh, you had our generation of architects that you had some architects who really accurate themselves very locally in a city. It's a moment where you start to have architects that are very, I'm thinking about, I don't know that Jenna Bilbao and Mexico city, or even Jeannie gang in Chicago, the sense of like anchoring, but since we didn't really have this anchor, it was important that we were in New York as a kind of much more generic , um, um, uh , international, global, you know , sort of platform , uh, uh, from which at the time we thought, you know, we can, we can still work in the middle East, or we can work in Europe. We can work in the U S I get it . And , and it , and it is close to all these amazing institutions and we started teaching. And so , um, it's, it's kind of , um , an , a culture hub. Uh, and , and so yes, you get the , um, then it's, it's very competitive relative of starting in a, in a, in a , in a city where you might have fewer architects, but at the same time, it's just an incredible network of right. Colleagues and, you know , um, um, and so I think that was the choice that we were, we were going to be part of that, that landscape.

Speaker 3:

What do you think? The, the mindset and, and the, the traits of a successful leader that , uh, that, that our Arab immigrants and our community should, should look for, or should, or should focus on

Speaker 2:

There's the classic work hard, right. You know, nothing can replace that a sense of work ethic , um, and , um, a wonderful generosity , uh , capacity to connect , uh, with, with other people. And , uh, and, you know, these are characteristics that are so important, you know, I think , um, not just as an architect, but I think, you know, as, as, as a, as a leader, to understand complexity, to understand, difference, to understand different perspectives, to , to be able to bring people together. Um, I think it's not just a sort of a singular vision, right? You really have to , um, to build a sense of , uh, coming together around ideas and , and mobilizing together. And, you know , I , I think that the richness of our culture and of our history and our entrepreneurial , uh , sensibility and ideas , um, it's just, these are really incredible qualities , um , that are very helpful when you're confronted with , um, complex situations with many different voices. And , um, so, so I think, I think these are the, we should value that richness, right.

Speaker 4:

Um, w we're also really interested in hearing about your experience as the Dean of architecture, planning, preservation school at Columbia. You were the first woman to hold that position. And also an immigrant, I don't know that there's so many Arab immigrants that made it , um, that made it there. And part of that journey bringing a lot of Arab topics or topics about the Arab city into an Ivy league school like Columbia university, which was not necessarily the norm before it wasn't a topic that's, you know, often picked when you're in an architecture school in the United States. We'd love to hear a little bit more about that

Speaker 2:

First conference, which was my own scholarship as a professor was on the question of the Arab city. And, and the question of how the RFC city has been represented in, in sort of , um, uh, architectural history, or, but it wasn't just historically it was , uh , it was , uh , sort of picking up on , uh, you know, the new developments that had been occurring in the UAE and , and the sort of urbanization and wanting to reflect, you know, wanting to reflect on the question of global practice, through the lens of , um, of discretion of the Arab city and its representation. And certainly I think that set the tone , uh, in terms of saying, you know, the school again, can't be just about , um , uh, you know, w we need to look at , uh , what we call the global South. We need to look at what happens in the middle East. We need to look at Latin America, we need to be, you know, understand , uh , the changes that are occurring in different parts of Asia. You know, so the kind of globalizing of the perspective at the, at the school, not just as kind of opportunity in the sense of a kind of contemporary and new contemporary landscape, where architects can just jump around from one place to another, but really question how we approach these different contexts and cultures and how we , uh , need to understand them, not reduce them, not orient them, not, you know , uh, and so, you know, this was really , um, it was very exciting. It was a very exciting moment to say , um, you know, we , we have to, we have to look at these complexities and , and bring them to, to the focus in terms of the curriculum and in terms of what we teach and how we teach,

Speaker 4:

Right. Was the university supportive of that? Did you have to push hard for the university to adopt this new topics into the school?

Speaker 2:

No, I mean, it, it, it, it actually, president Ballinger came at the conference. He was very interested , uh, um, and it was like the first month of my Dean ship . And , um, no, it was, it was, you know, I think the university Columbia in particular , um, has had a long standing commitment to , um, to be , uh , to being a global university. And , um, they have these kind of incredible network of global centers. And, you know, there's a , there's a long history at Columbia, also , uh , with Edward IE and Misa, and you know, of engaging the region and very critical and , and , um, um, uh, in very critical and productive way so that there is that , that kind of long tradition that the , uh , university is proud of. And I think in terms of the school itself , um, we have the notion that we have students again from all over the world and increasingly from the middle East, and, you know, they , they, students want to understand , um , a much broader context today then , then sort of now perspective on , uh , on kind of European architectural history,

Speaker 3:

Maybe that in return attracted more, more Arab immigrants to come and, and , uh , uh, learn about these topics academically from a big institution like Columbia. Absolutely.

Speaker 2:

Definitely. And I've seen it definitely an increase , um, in terms of the, which is very exciting for me in terms of students who are coming from all parts of the middle East , uh, from Saudi, from Lebanon, from Syria, from my brother being one in Kuwait, UAE. I mean, it's, it's been, there's definitely been an increase and I I'm really, it's wonderful for me to see that. Yeah .

Speaker 4:

Yeah. Do you think that that line of, of , um, you know, discussion about the Arab city has spread to other institutions where this lot of focusing more about this topic, especially given all the crisis and complexities of the middle East today,

Speaker 2:

You know, I don't, I don't know that other schools have the same intensity of focus on different regions without making them kind of, you know , area studies, but it's much more about always questioning whatever center exists. The school wants to question it , uh ,

Speaker 3:

The impact you're left on , on the Arab world in terms of your research about their city is beyond academia, because now you're doing some projects in Lebanon, like design-wise , can you tell us a little bit about, you know , how that works?

Speaker 2:

Uh, so with, with , um, with work AC in my practice, we did a number of kind of more theoretical competitions and , uh, studies , um, uh, for different parts of the middle East and for Beirut as well, sort of, you know, questioning , uh , the reconstruction or, you know , uh, but more recently, I think in the last few years, we, we started to have actual projects, which is really exciting. And , um, uh, we're just completing a big residential project in bathroom , just North of Beirut , uh, which is , you know , speaks to our interests of , um, of trying to imagine how you could create both the density and real access to , uh , sort of , um, outdoor living and greenery. So it's, it's, the roofs are all green roofs, and there's a sort of typography that , uh, that lands in the sea as a , you know, really kind of connecting architecture and , uh , an ideas about the environment in new ways. Um, so that's our big project there. And then we , uh , we are , uh, we hopefully we'll still do the Beirut museum of art, which is now , um , on hold , but that's very exciting. And that was , uh , originally a competition as well. And it degrades to reconnect through practice and , uh,

Speaker 3:

Great. Yeah, absolutely. Uh , I'm really interesting to learn about. So , uh , there's a lot of people, they, they go the academic route, they become professors, they become deans. They're so successful in the academic crowd . There are different kinds of people. They, they go into more of the business world, they start and they go find their own companies. They're , they're more of an entrepreneur. Uh, you're mixed both worlds. How do you look at both journeys , uh , in terms of academia and entrepreneurship, and do you think being an Arab and an Arab immigrant, because as you know, back home, everybody wants to do their own work, their own business wants to , uh , to , to , to have their own thing. Do you think , uh , being Lebanese and being an Arab , uh, kinda inspired you inside to , yeah. I want to do my own thing in addition of being an academic,

Speaker 2:

You know , I never thought about it this way, but why not? I think , um, I've always wanted to do my own thing. Um, and , um, yeah , I mean, even, even when I first job, whatever in Montreal, I worked for a really great firm called at the year big city, and then, you know , every single, I always knew that, that , you know, even when I was working for REM , it was, I patiently waited for them to finally have enough so that we could start our own practice. Um, that's always been my dream and it's still my, my dream. I , uh, even though I'm doing it, I, you know, I, I want to do it more fully , uh, at some point , um, um, and it , you know, it's interesting, maybe it is in our yeah , blood , um, that we , we want to , uh , start things and do do them our own way and , and not just be, you know, kind of fitting in these large bureaucracies. And so , uh, and for me, it's very important to have that feedback loop, you know , I think, I think , uh, I really , uh, you know, I think the academic space gives you a chance to articulate positions and a perspective outside of the demands of , uh, you know, I'm paying the bills and right. I mean, you can, you can kind of take the time to really reflect , uh, on this moment and, you know, I'm the contemporary situation in so many ways . But I think for me doing that in isolation, from the unbelievable transformations that are happening , uh , everyday in practice that are happening around the world that are, you know, that are just so surprising. Like if we can theorize, you know, what's happening thing in the world and bring it back, think about it, and then kind of come back with a new physician to how one can practice for me that doesn't, doesn't make sense. I think the two need to really be in conversation always because sometimes I feel like what's happening out in the world is so much faster and so much more is happening in terms of, I don't know, research into a new materials, you know, towards more sustainable building that's industry that does not being driven by , uh , maybe in Europe, in places like at the heart there, there's kind of, it's not driven by bye bye academic research, but you have incredible critical scholarship. Uh, you know, in, in, in, in academia that , uh , that I think now is actually pushing practice of all these technologies, whether their data or their material, or their , you know, green tech , you know, whatever they are that, that line of questioning in terms of issues of equity and, and , uh , and impact . And , uh , um , that, that those questions are obviously now really, really happening , um , in the academic sphere. And so to be able to bring these two in conversation through one's own practice and work is clear ,

Speaker 3:

What are the challenges that, that if I'm currently a young , uh, architect, and I want to start my own firm, what are the challenges that I might face starting affirm right now?

Speaker 2:

You know , I, I don't, I don't think starting is hard. I think starting is so exciting because you , you have such a fresh perspective on everything and you are irreverent . Uh, we were certainly irreverent. We, you know , wanted to do everything differently and it just , um, I think what's hard is the kind of steps, right? There's the scales, but , um, I think what's hard is jumping scale. Um , uh, and then not, not modulating those jumps, like not jumping too fast. Um, and so you want to build a culture. You want to build an ethic of work you want to build , um, if it goes too slowly, you don't gain the momentum and then, you know, the next wave and the next generation is coming. Uh , but if you go too fast , uh , I think you can get lost in feeding the monster , um, that , um, you know, that becomes the practice. So I think scale having a sense of control over the overscale , um, that's what entrepreneurship or the sense of being more entrepreneurial and hybridizing, but you, you have, for example, if I look at GSF Columbia , now we have many more architects who are choosing also to do the real estate development program or doing planning. They kind of dual degrees. I think we have a lot of students and graduates who are hybridizing, because I think they feel like it gives them an edge , uh, and gives them more agency in shaping the kind of practice they want to , uh, to have. Um, and I think that's, that's the, both the exciting part and the difficult part is that there's so many different ways you can shape a practice today. Like you , you're no longer just necessarily the architect sitting back waiting for the, you know , for the phone to ring. Uh, some architects are starting nonprofits so that they can do certain kinds of work. Some architects are combining with , uh , development, with contracting, with design build there's more and more, you know , so these kind of hybrid , uh, uh, forms of practice, I think are very much a few the present. And , and , and, and, and certainly the future,

Speaker 4:

Speaking of the future , um, you know, you've, you've dotted the top Ivy league schools. You've had a successful practice. Um, you you've been around what is next for you? Like, what is it that you would love to do next?

Speaker 2:

Thank you for this question. Um, if I, if I think about my scholarship and my interests, it's really kind of these two things that I've certainly in my practice with Dan , we've tried to, to intersect, you know, on the one hand, there is the question of culture and specificity and complexity and, and, and , um, and kind of , uh , uh, being very aware of a place , uh, and its history. Um, but on the other hand, I still believe that we have to come together , uh, in terms of climate change. Like I, you know, there there's still needs to be ideas that go beyond the differences , uh, in terms of identity and identity politics. And I really feel like we're. And so my, my passion is climate change and how architecture and building can, can address and engage with , with climate change. So intersecting these two , where you can hold the specific and also have an idea of the universal, or at least the fact that we all read the same air. And, you know, I think that's my passion, and that's what I want to dedicate our practice to even more so than we have, and, and my own , um, my own research. Um, and so, you know, as Dean is wonderful because you get to support so many other faculty, young faculty, students, et cetera. But I also think that , uh , at some point when I stepped down, I, you know, I have to pick back up , uh, intensify my, you know, my own , um, my own practice and really dedicated, dedicated to , to that intersection. And just, you know, you have one chance in this life, right?

Speaker 3:

As you know, 2020 has been, if we can say challenging and , and, you know, from, from a big pandemic, from crazy political atmosphere, from , uh, crazy events back in the middle East, a big explosion in Lebanon, ongoing unrest, still in Syria and the whole region. Uh, what's your message to the, to the Arab community here in North America , uh, you know , uh, USA and Canada, and, you know, extending that to the, to the, to the Arabs , uh, and Lebanese , uh , back home.

Speaker 2:

And so I , I think it's our role as those of us on the outside and the, just for , uh , of , of Arab Americans and Arabs in general, to sort of come together and lift, lift, lift them, you know , um , when the Bay route explosion happened , uh , a friend of mine, my Cardi called and said, we have to do something, I don't know anything. And so, you know, within, within a few weeks, we put together this architects for Bay roots , working with design Miami, and we got architects from around the world to donate drawings and , and we're sort of, you know, just, just gestures of solidarity. And I do think that 2020 will be remembered as a traumatic year, but also there has been so many gestures of silly OT , uh, in terms of protests around the world, the black lives matter here. And , um, you know, the , the , the , the sort of , uh , protest in Lebanon protest in Hong Kong, you know, that there , there is the movement of people coming together is really powerful. And I think that , um, my hope is that , um, you know, I, I never felt like an immigrant until four years ago when somebody said you're an immigrant , uh, in this , you know, I , um, but now I I'm embracing that , uh, as some, as a sense of empowerment to lift others. Uh , and so how, how we do that, how we, how we kind of continue to lift people up and not forget them, you wanna , you wanna immigrate and keep them with you and, and, and, and, and , uh, send back your strength and , um, and just keeping it engaging. And , um, you know, we, we will , um, there's always a hope if there's work and passion and commitment. Right,

Speaker 4:

Right. How can our community support your mission with architects for bid route , for example ,

Speaker 2:

Um, there's still wonderful drawings on the design Miami website , um , that are for sale from the best architects from around the world across generations and the , uh, the money is being raised for the AUB , the Beirut urban lab there. Um, cause we thought it would be nice to support the next generation of architects and , uh, and you know, students and researchers. So it was important that it was in conjunction with , uh , with the school and the university. And so I'm happy to share the link with you, but , um, that'd be wonderful. Yeah,

Speaker 4:

Absolutely. Absolutely. Um, well, I mean, we love this story. We love the conversation. Um, we really hope that your story is going to inspire not only young architects, but also just young immigrants. I mean, this is , this is a time when there's a lot of influx of immigrants into North America and we all love an inspiring story because it's possible, you know, with hard work, with dedication, it is possible for us possible for us to build a home here. And you're just a great example and inspiring example. So thank you very much for sharing your story with us.

Speaker 2:

Thank you both for your questions and for this initiative and , uh, you know, for making bridges between all of us,

Speaker 1:

Thank you for tuning in. We hope you enjoyed the episode. Please

Speaker 5:

Visit our website to vote for your favorite story.

Speaker 1:

And don't forget to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast .

Speaker 5:

Yeah .