Syria’s “great rebuilding:” innovative structures, sustainable environments.

Building and destruction often represent creative elements in any society. Some buildings are preserved and others are raised to prepare for new structures, facilities and parks.

Too often in war, and as we have seen in the last 4 years in Syria, the destruction of homes, parks, hospitals, schools, and other community buildings has happened too frequently.

Opposite from building, destroying buildings results not only in the loss of the beloved structure – sometimes of historic and cultural meaning and value – but lives are lost as well as our memories. In the destruction of our homes and civic buildings, we also lose the value of the workers who constructed and maintained the building as well as the ideas and education accumulated as well as our experiences.

At times, this makes me quite sad but my family and friends remind me that this is our reality now and that we should try to be optimistic, which is not easy at all.

Thousands of buildings have been destroyed and our country will need all us with our degrees, our hopes, our experiences and our belief in the future and in Syria.

Far from politics and much closer to philanthropy and as good stewards, we all should take our part and seize our responsibility for the size of our crisis and loses in Syria; the gravity of the situation is huge and more than could be described with words but it becomes more reasonable when we divide it between us, and carry this forward on “all of our shoulders.”

In addition to buildings, entire industries have suffered greatly throughout Syria.

The electricity grid and field is one of the most damaged fields in the last couple of years in Syria. In some areas, homes lose the current for 12-18 hours per day with no alternate way to heat or ventilate, and the real problem is most of our power stations depend on traditional sources of fuel like diesel and gases. For me, contributing to the energy sectors – especially renewable and sustainable energies resources, has become the primary area of my focus of study and professional interest; I think it will also be among the most important ways that I will be able to contribute with my colleagues in Syria, and my fellow Syrian students at IIT – as well as the many other IIT faculty and students that I have met since arriving in Chicago.

Attached you will see one of the random lines in Syria where some people spend up to 10 hours to have about five gallons of fuel to use it in heating and this will be a second area of focus for my study and research.

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As a student in electrical engineering with big interests in sustainable and renewable energy, my small helpful role in this crisis will be by initiating the use of sustainable energy technology in a more widespread manner throughout Syria as a supportive source not like a totally alternate one.

In this way, we can save this extra fuel for those people who really need it and generate electricity from free and renewable resources that can be available in most days of the year in Syria. Such conservation of resources and greater efficiencies we will decrease the number of hours of lost power provided throughout the country and make it easier for people to be supplied with fuel.

We know that the heat of the summer and the cold of the winter create unnecessary hardships and heartaches for the very young, the elderly, those who are ill and those who are suffering injuries associated from the devastation of the ongoing conflict.

No one likes to see his or her people living under these circumstances – suffering these indignities. We want our families and those infirmed to feel warmth in winter, coolness in the summer and to know that their medical equipment will function without interruption.

I know it is not that easy to bring this technology into our country. We will need creative and innovative minds, financial resources, professional people and hard working mechanics and “makers” for this to happen. That said, I really know that we can work.

In addition to my studies here at Illinois Institute of Technology, we will also begin to take some initial small steps forward. At the moment, we are working on making a connection between the students in Damascus University and those who are enrolled at IIT by making a network of references and information they might need or ask for. Once we begin to connect students around the topics of sustainable and renewable energy, we will explore how we might be able to make this connection work even with faculty members.

We must take our role in the (re)build our country; this is our dream, this is what we really want for Syria, and our future. We owe this to our families, friends, and so many others who form the one Syrian people. Our country – Syria.

Safouh Takrouri

Illinois Institute of Technology

Armour College of Engineering

Expected Graduation date:2014

(formerly, University of Damsacus)

Safouh can be reached at: en_saf7@hawk.iit.edu

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