Building with Legos in Chicago, Illinois – Syria: Different locations – Same vision


Today I was lucky enough to attend Lego Day at Illinois Institute of Technology, where kids come from everywhere in Chicago to play and build their ideas in famous Crown Hall. I was amazed by the beauty of what the structure and the “city” that the kids built together.

Kids are very smart; they just need a space and a chance to express their thoughts and ideas.

Looking at the kids today made me remember the studios of Jasmine Baladi where they have a Lego Day almost every day. Despite everything these children have experienced, they are still able to come to the studio with very creative and smart projects. Despite being displaced from their homes and the normalcy of everyday life, these children come together and sustain and renew their hope for a better future.

Children in Syrian refugee camps and those who are internally displaced need our help; upon my arrival to Chicago, I have understood that many of our children across Chicago’s neighborhoods require our engagement and involvement as well.

We are separated by thousands of kilometers but parents and families in Syria and Chicago share the same vision for their children.  We are united in common themes; we all must do whatever we can to provide an opportunity for a better tomorrow.  And, we should work together, wherever we are and through our relationships and connect our communities and countries one person at a time.

Our children need us to keep thinking about them and use every possibility we can use to provide support for them.

My hope and dream is that the children playing Legos and building (and dreaming) in Syria and at the Jasmine Baladi Studio will meet and study with the children that I met today in Crown Hall.  That one-day, these children will meet and talk about what they did in the Summer of 2014 and see that their paths were destined to arrive at this point at Illinois Tech and together work for a better future.

I will wish and work for the time when these children – at very different places on July 12, 2014 – will find themselves studying at Illinois Tech; though they were in different places, we share a similar vision, and for me it that is that in their future they will be together attending their classes at Illinois Institute of Technology, my alma mater.

And then, that we return to Syria and host similar LEGO Days – bridging play, and learning – for peace, hope and better tomorrows.

Suhaib Ibrahim

Armour College of Engineering – Civil Engineering

Illinois Institute of Technology

Expected graduation date: Dec 2014

Suhaib was born in Kamishli, Syria, he is currently a senior student at Illinois Institute of Technology, with earlier studies at Aleppo University and Damascus University. Suhaib is a Civil Engineering student with concentration in structural engineering.

Suhaib is currently working with Jasmine Baladi Studio, an NGO that is working to support the Syrian kids in refugee camps is Turkey. Suhaib can be reached at


To learn more about the Mies van de Rohe Society at IIT – one of the sponsors of today’s event, please visit:

To learn more about the Jasmine Baladi Studio, please visit:

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