NSB Logo Tima Kurdi Tima Kurdi

Tima Kurdi


Vancouver, BC, Canada

Syrian Refugee Advocate Promoting Everyday Social Activism

Tima Kurdi has used the tragic loss of her sister-in-law and two nephews as a catalyst to connect and engage audiences with the aim of inspiring action for a better tomorrow. The photo of her 2-year-old nephew Alan Kurdi’s body on a beach on the shores of Turkey brought international attention to the refugee crisis in Syria, where innocent lives were lost trying to escape a war zone by any means possible. She now advocates for everyday people to raise their voices in hope of creating a better future where a young life is not lost so needlessly.

Keynote Speeches

Empowering Our Voices: A Better World Tomorrow by Our Words and Actions

After seeing first hand the conditions her family was living in while trying to flee the Syrian war, Tima Kurdi, a hairdresser, mother, and Canadian resident of many years was unsuccessful in trying to sponsor her brother, his wife and their two boys safely into Canada as refugees. While trying to find a way to get them out of danger, Tima received the news that time had run out – her sister-in-law, Rehanna and two nephews, Alan and Galeb had drowned while trying to cross by sea into Greece. The image of Tima’s 3-year-old nephew, lifeless on the beach caught the media’s attention became a turning point in the refugee crisis – people were now unable to ignore – innocent people were suffering.

Tima now uses her personal tragedy as a catalyst to connect, inspire and activate her audience. Her main mission is to plant the seed of hope within the heart of everyone listening and her impassioned plea for action is unforgettable.  Tima’s main argument is simple – tragedy should not be a pre-requisite for positive social action. Raise your voice; speak out against violence and suffering. Tima has dedicated her life to sharing her story and creating a better world for tomorrow. Though not a politician, nor someone in a position to change the laws directly, her voice was heard in the discussion around the world and contributed to lives being saved – Tima tells us everyone has this same power within themselves – their voice.

Speaker Biography

A mother, hairdresser and by her own account an average Candian, Tima’s life was turned upside down and thrust into the spotlight when images of her 2-year-old nephew Alan Kurdi surfaced after the boy, his brother and their mother drowned while trying to escape the fighting in Syria.

Tima connects with audiences on a personal level in her impassioned plea for action. She believes that we need to act before tragedy strikes so that no more innocent lives are needlessly lost. Tima believes that raising our voice even on an individual level can affect great positive change in our society – the time is now.

Tima shares her emotional and personal story to raise awareness about the actuality of human suffering all over the world from refugees to homelessness. Her acclaimed memoir chronicles her family’s escape from Syria and their hope for a new home. Tima’s story is touching but it does more than just bring awareness to the harsh realities faced by vulnerable groups in our society – it plants a seed. By discussing her grassroots efforts in Turkey to gather aid for those suffering all around her, she proves the power a single person can have in working for a better tomorrow.

Tima’s story and actions are felt across the globe as people hear how she chose not to stay in her home and mourn silently but share her pain and speak out against the lack of action to prevent this senseless loss of life.