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Home » What It’s Like To Be A Parent In A War Zone: Aala El-Khani (Transcript)

What It’s Like To Be A Parent In A War Zone: Aala El-Khani (Transcript)

Here is the full transcript and summary of Aala El-Khani’s talk titled “What It’s Like To Be A Parent In A War Zone” at TEDxManchester conference. In this talk, humanitarian psychologist Aala El-Khani shares about the challenges faced by parents and children in war zones and refugee camps. She shared her personal journey of wondering what life would be like as a parent in a war zone, and how using her academic skills to provide support and resources to families could make a real difference.

Listen to the audio version here:


Good morning.

Worldwide, over 1.5 billion people experience armed conflict. In response, people are forced to flee their country, leaving over 15 million refugees. Children, without a doubt, are the most innocent and vulnerable victims… but not just from the obvious physical dangers, but from the often unspoken effects that wars have on their families.

The experiences of war leave children at a real high risk for the development of emotional and behavioral problems. Children, as we can only imagine, will feel worried, threatened, and at risk.

But there is good news. The quality of care that children receive in their families can have a more significant effect on their well-being than from the actual experiences of war that they have been exposed to. So actually, children can be protected by warm, secure parenting during and after conflict.

In 2011, I was a first-year PhD student in the University of Manchester School of Psychological Sciences. Like many of you here, I watched the crisis in Syria unfold in front of me on the TV. My family is originally from Syria, and very early on, I lost several family members in really horrifying ways. I’d sit and I’d gather with my family and watch the TV.

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