Writer, reporter, and public speaker Chaker Khazaal grew up in a refugee camp in Beirut during the Lebanese Civil War.
In 2005, he was awarded the prestigious Global Leader of Tomorrow Award, by York University in Toronto, for his excellent academic and leadership skills.
Now a proud Canadian citizen, Chaker finally has a country to call home. Not one to forget his upbringing, he has traveled overseas to war zones, conducting interviews for his books and articles.
His stories have powerful messages focusing on Middle East politics, and current world events. Widely anticipated, they reach global audiences – a true testament to an inspiring young man.
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.
I had to get a travel document. I never owned a passport. It is a document that is given by Lebanon and by the Palestinian authority where you can get a visa, and it is very hard to get a visa anywhere.
Then I applied for a student visa to go to Canada and study in Canada. Canada has been a great host and it has become a home. And it is a home now to me.
Human dignity is very important and nations… we need that sense of belonging. It is one of those essentials to feel you are a human being. So having this protection and this country behind you and this wonderful community as well surrounding you, is a great feeling. You feel more motivated and you feel you are truly a world citizen and a human being.
We take our countries and where we belong to for granted but we should always remember, there are people who are living on borders.
And having a country that is… it is not only the patriotic feeling but it is also that basic human feeling of belonging somewhere.
Cinematography: Danielle Calodney & Andi Velazquez
Edited by: Ayse Nur Gencalp
Interviewed by: Laura Lehmann