What Following Your Heart Can Do

What Following Your Heart Can Do:
Jordan Hattar on Turning Compassion Into Action

by Zoya Salahuddin


QLC day 2, when passion and spirit reach previously unattainable heights, Room 105 is already buzzing with enthusiasm. A throng people spill in from the doors, everyone excited to hear how they can work towards making a change, a feat only true leaders can accomplish. Jordan Hattar steps onto the podium, a smile immediately putting the crowd at ease, as he begins his presentation, titled ‘Voices of Syria’.


“Because when I ask Syrian people what they need the most, they say it’s someone to tell their story.”


He speaks of how his childhood was indirectly affected by Hurricane Katrina, news reports shocking him as he realised that disasters can hit fully developed, modern countries like America, causing suffering nationwide. This leads to him researching about crises affecting society on an international scale, and he is suddenly struck with a drive, the humane need to reach out and help those living less fortunate lives. Soon he is told he cannot physically help the people he learns about, for he is too young and inexperienced.


That does not stop him. When I learn about how Hattar repeatedly attempted to work at a Refugee Camp in Syria organised by the UN, becoming a journalist simply to be permitted to do so, I am amazed by his incontestable perseverance and determination. To be wholeheartedly dedicated to such a tiresome and risky task, as well as to remember names, personalities and interests of each member of a family of refugees, as Hattar did, is something so painstakingly human – every member of the audience is deeply touched by his words. He shows us photos of people he has encountered, bringing to light how even refugees have personalities, and display generosity and hospitality despite their dire conditions.  


“We are all part of the same shared humanity.”


After having worked with numerous influential people, such as Michelle Obama, Hattar maintains a mellow, kind-hearted nature; he speaks with the sincerity and fervour of someone who genuinely, earnestly cares. He tells the audience about a group of students in New York, who ran a fundraising project in order to buy caravans for refugees in Syria. Nonetheless, he points out that months of effort can buy only one caravan, and in the grand scheme of things, that is simply one drop in the ocean. A friend reminds him: “that one drop can be someone’s whole ocean.”

He concludes by informing audience members how they can help: by following their hearts. When such a simple mindset can lead to such great opportunities, painted out by Hattar’s own example, it is essential that we do what is authentic to us – especially in a world where there are many people to tell us ‘no’.


“Sometimes, there’s just one person, and that’s you.”