Having once taught at the University of Damascus in Syria, Amr Al-Azm is now an Associate Professor of History at Shawnee State University in Ohio. Having left just before the civil war started, his heart and soul still remains there, especially for the country’s arts and culture.
From a computer at his new college, Al-Azm coordinates preservation efforts with a network of former students and colleagues who remain in Syria as they attempt to save ancient Roman and Byzantine mosaics stored in a museum in the town of Maarat al-Numan.
“We started to try to see if there was anything we could do to reduce the damage [from bombing] where possible, and more importantly, document what damage was already done,” says the professor.
“I hope that one day my children will be able to go back to Syria, and they’re not going to have the opportunity to see what I was able to see and grow up with,” says Al-Azm.