Omar Khir Alanam @ GIBS

Omar Khir Alanam is an author, poetry slammer, workshop leader, storyteller and a man whose life has been turned upside down by politics. Born in 1991 in East Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus, Syria, he studied economics in Damascus and Latakia. After the outbreak of the civil war in Syria, he refused to take up arms against his countrymen and left his home. Years in Lebanon and Turkey taught him to do all the odd and tedious jobs he was given with pride and a smile on his face, working 14 hours in a Turkish shoe factory, cleaning toilets and tables in a restaurant was easier done accompanied by singing and humming. Writing short poems and keeping a diary was his mental survival strategy, which proved successful. In 2014, Omar tried his luck and entered Austria via the Balkan route, and after two years on the run, he was finally able to stay. Learning German was essential and although it was hard for him as he never liked languages in school, mastering German opened many doors. Omar managed to become a professional cultural broadcaster and tried his hand at poetry slam. Omar is not only an award-winning poetry slammer, but also a successful writer.

At GIBS, he encouraged year 7 students to start writing about themselves. Their notes remained private, and it was heartwarming to see how seriously the students took his assignments, filling pages without complaining or procrastinating, inspired by Omar’s life story and personality. He filled the room with his eloquence, his positive life philosophy (tomorrow is better) and his warm panoramic smile.

The title of Omar’s first book, DANKE, perfectly describes our response to his workshops. Thank you, Omar, and please come again to our school and present your books to us: “Sisi, Sex und Semmelknödel” and “Feig, faul und frauenfeindlich” and the latest one which will be published in March 2024.


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