Chaker Khazaal is a Palestinian-Canadian writer and speaker on refugees and international aid.
Khazaal was born in 1987 in the Bourj el-Barajneh Palestinian refugee camp in Beirut, Lebanon to a Palestinian filmmaker father and and socio-political activist mother. His paternal grandfather and maternal grandparents were displaced from Palestine in 1948 following Nakba Day and became refugees in Lebanon.
When he was 17, he was awarded the prestigious Global Leader of Tomorrow Award by Toronto’s York University for his excellent academic and leadership skills to study film production and international studies. He immigrated to Canada in 2005.
After completing his studies in 2009, Chaker worked for Nations United, a Canadian platform for humanitarian organizations where he served as a public speaker. He was the creator and co-host of Nations United’s humanitarian web-reality show Faces of Transformation.
In April 2013, Chaker launched his first book – Confessions of a War Child – at the Société de lecture in Geneva, and later received the Award for Creativity from Princess Karen Cantrell of the Order of Saint Lazarus. Chaker’s most recent social media campaign included the 2014 Oscar nominated film Omar.
Chaker has become a prominent voice for Palestinian refugees, advocating for refugees to immigrate to countries where there are more opportunities.
20to30 asked you guys to ask questions via Twitter, so we picked a few questions and I’m going to answer them now.
Questions from Samah from Lebanon: “If you were not a writer, what would your profession be?”
I think it would be a singer although I have a bad voice. But it’s one of my broken dreams that I only get to practice in the shower or behind the wheel.
A question from Ziad from Gaza: “Who are your favorite writers?”
I really love Paulo Coelho. I’m very much inspired and influence by his writing.
Question from Khouloud in Jerusalem: “What advice do you give to beginners?”
Follow your passion, have an action plan, and enjoy your journey towards your dream.
A question from Beverly from the States: “We heard bits of how you dreamt your way out of a refugee camp, will you eventually write a full biography?”
I think I’ll do that in my 60s or 70s as I’m sure there are still a lot of things forming, to grow, learn from, and make it a thick biography.
That’s it, cut. [Laughs]
Cinematography: Danielle Calodney
Interviewed by: Laura Lehmann
Audio by: Andi Velazquez