Rebuilding Beirut with UNICEF at UIUC

April 10th, 2021 @ 12:30pm CST

$5 - $50
Not on Sale
Rebuilding Beirut with UNICEF at UIUC
About this Event

**UPDATE (April 10th at 3:00 pm): A Thank you

Thank you to everyone who attended! We could not have done it without your support and did not envision Rebuilding Beirut to be as successful as it was. It was enlightening to see Lebanon in the different limelights the panel provided. A shoutout to our co-sponsors: MEDLife at UIUC, UNICEF at Suffolk University, and Sigma Beta Rho at UIUC.

And a special thank you to our partners and panelists: Dr. Shadi Atallah, Brittany Taylor, Dani Abboud, Iliana Alvarenga, Emiliana Lopez, and Leslie Alvarez. Without them, this event would not have happened. 

While the event has come and gone, the option to donate will remain available until April 17th. 

Beginning in 2017, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) has held a Gala every spring to recognize and raise funds for global calamities in support of UNICEF. This tradition has brought together various members of our community, allowing us to expand our worldview and make a difference for those in need. For our fifth annual event, our committee has chosen to highlight Lebanon and support the victims of the Beirut explosion. On April 10, 2021, beginning at 12:30 pm CST/1:30 pm EST, UNICEF at UIUC will be hosting its Rebuilding Beirut Luncheon.

On August 4, 2020, Beirut’s port, which included large amounts of ammonium nitrate, exploded. The disaster in the capital was catastrophic, surmounting to $15 billion in property damage. Dubbed one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history, it injured 6,500 civilians, displaced 300,000 citizens, and took over 200 individual's lives. An already fragile country is still facing the impacts of the debilitating blast, as it battles medical challenges, an ongoing socio-economic crisis, a worldwide pandemic, and existing civil unrest. 

The Rebuilding Beirut Luncheon will introduce the events that preceded the Beirut explosion. This portion will focus on raising awareness about Beirut's current humanitarian situation. This will be followed by a live, moderated Q&A discussion. In this Speaker Series, a diverse panel of speakers will offer their personal testimony on numerous topics, such as what life was like growing up in Lebanon prior to relocating to the United States, UNICEF's response to the Lebanese emergency, and the lasting impacts of the port explosions. The panelists will address your questions, which can be pre-submitted or asked live. Learn more about pre-submitting questions in the section below. 

Amidst the hardships brought forth this past year, our main goal is to remind our community that we can extend a helping hand no matter where we are in the world. With your help, we can Rebuild Beirut together and better the livelihoods of the Lebanese youth. 

We thank you for taking the initiative to ease the negative impacts of this monumental day in history.


**This is open to all ages. Rebuilding Beirut will follow UNICEF USA's child safeguarding best practices**

Meet the Panelists!

Brittany Taylor - Manager of Humanitarian Response at UNICEF USA



Brittany Taylor has served on the Humanitarian Response Team at UNICEF USA since May 2019. Previously, she obtained her Masters in International Development with a focus in Child Protection and Human Rights from American University and Sciences Po. During this time, she also conducted research on the reality of unaccompanied minors in France as well as the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in South Africa. In her role at UNICEF USA, Brittany serves as the liaison between UNICEF country offices and UNICEF USA to help coordinate information and resources across teams during humanitarian response activations.





Dr. Shadi Atallah - Associate Professor in ACE at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 

Shadi Atallah was born and raised in Lebanon. He studied Agricultural Engineering at the Université Saint-Esprit de Kaslik in Jounieh and later earned an MS in Plant Science at the American University of Beirut. He conducted research on the conservation of threatened plant species native to Lebanon and the Mediterranean. He later worked for international NGOs on agricultural development projects in South Lebanon. In 2006, he moved to the US, where he worked for the UC Davis International Programs on agricultural development projects in the Middle East and North Africa and completed an MS in Agricultural Economics. He completed his Ph.D. in Applied Economics at Cornell University in 2014. Shadi served on the faculty of Purdue University and the University of New Hampshire before joining the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (UIUC) in 2020. He is currently an Associate Professor of Environmental and Resource Economics in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACE) and Affiliate Faculty with the Center for the Economics of Sustainability (CEOS). His research is in the economics of sustainable agriculture and nature conservation.


Dani Abboud - Manager of Community Programs and Partnerships for the Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods 

Dani Abboud is a Lebanese-American environmentalist, born and raised in the States and currently based in Chicago. They graduated from Loyola University Chicago’s Institute of Environmental Sustainability, where they studied Environmental Science and Sociology. They currently serve as the Manager of Community Programs and Partnerships at Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods, an art and nature non-profit based in Lake County. Dani’s background is in community engagement, environmental justice, and qualitative research. In response to the port explosion on August 4th, Dani began baking ma'amoul (a traditional Lebanese sweet), which they distributed to anyone who donated at least $10 to community organizations doing on the ground disaster relief in Beirut. Through this project, over $1,000 in donations were made directly to mutual aid and relief efforts led by the local Beirut community.
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April 10th, 2021 @ 12:30pm CST
Contact us!
Please contact us by email with any questions, comments, or concerns regarding the event. Feel free to check out our social media handle as well: 





***UNICEF at UIUC is part of UNICEF USA’s national coalition of student-led campus groups that educate, advocate, and fundraise on behalf of the children’s international development organization, UNICEF***

Want to get involved?

If your business, organization, or club would like to become a co-sponsor for our event email us at That way, we can personally connect to discuss co-sponsorship perks and requirements. We hope to hear from you soon!

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