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Home / Event / Salam Neighbor: Veterans and Refugees Discuss U.S. Involvement in the World Refugee Crisis

Salam Neighbor: Veterans and Refugees Discuss U.S. Involvement in the World Refugee Crisis

October 21, 2016 - 7:00pm to 9:30pm


Vets for American Ideals, in partnership with No One Left Behind and MilVets of Columbia University, will host a screening of the award-winning documentary Salam Neighbor to raise awareness of the millions of men, women, and children forced to flee their homes due to conflict.

Veterans have a particular interest in refugees. Thousands of interpreters, translators, and allies who served with the U.S. military are currently endangered due to their affiliation with the United States. Join us for an interactive discussion on refugees, those allies who served with us in Iraq and Afghanistan, and how American leadership in the global refugee crisis is vital to our interests abroad and imperative to upholding our national values.

We hope you will join us.



Friday, October 21, 2016
7:00 – 9:30 PM



Columbia University

Between 116th and120th Streets on Broadway

Mathematics Building, Room 207

New York, NY


RSVP Below


Panel Discussion:

Scott Cooper (Moderator)

Scott Cooper is National Security Outreach Director at Human Rights First and founder of the initiative Veterans for American Ideals. He spent 20 years in the Marine Corps, deploying several times to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Matt Zeller

Matt Zeller is co-founder of No One Left Behind, a Truman National Security Fellow, and an adjunct fellow at the American Security Project. He is the author of Watches Without Time (Just World Books, 2012), which chronicles his experience serving as an embedded combat adviser with Afghan security forces in Ghazni, Afghanistan, in 2008. He earned a BA in Government from Hamilton College and a MPA and a MA-IR from The Maxwell School at Syracuse University.

Matt Gallagher

Matt Gallagher is a former U.S. Army captain and author of the acclaimed novel Youngblood, as well as the Iraq War memoir Kaboom and a contributor to the short fiction collection Fire & Forget: Short Stories from the Long War. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, and The Paris Review Daily. A graduate of Wake Forest University, Matt also holds an MFA in fiction from Columbia University and works as a writing instructor at Words After War.

Janis Shinwari

Mohammed Janis Shinwari served as an interpreter for the U.S. military in Afghanistan for eight years. He is credited with saving the lives of five U.S. soldiers in combat and has received numerous U.S. military commendations for his extremely honorable service. He is a graduate of Khana-e-Noor University in Kabul, where he earned a degree in Business Administration.

Roman Baca

Roman Baca is a Marine Iraq War Veteran, a Masters Candidate in Non-Profit Management in Columbia’s School of Professional Studies, and the Artistic Director of Exit12 Dance Company in New York City. Roman served as a machine-gunner and team leader in Fallujah, Iraq from 2005-2006. He has since pioneered communicating the military experience through the performing arts. In 2012 Roman returned to Iraq as a teaching artist, leading a cross-cultural dance workshop with youth from Kirkuk and Erbil, Iraq.  

Press must RSVP to Christopher Plummer [email protected] or 202-370-3310