Amed Khan’s first trip to the Greek island of Lesbos wasn’t planned.
He was traveling by train to Milan, Italy, from the French Riviera in July 2015 after attending a fundraiser for actor Leonardo DiCaprio’s charitable foundation. Along the way, he noticed refugees camped out at railway stations. Khan ’91 decided to get off the train and follow their route backward.
When he got to Lesbos, thousands of people were landing on the country’s shores, wearing fake life jackets and crowded in rubber boats like cattle in a stockyard. Many arrived without their families or belongings, and others didn’t even make it that far. A number of boats sank midway through the journey across the Aegean Sea, and hundreds lost their lives in their quest to flee war and terrorism in their homelands.
“It was the startling contrast between the hedonism and extravagance of the people in Saint-Tropez and the awful conditions of these war refugees — who had lost all through no fault of their own — that compelled me to do whatever I could do to advocate for them and try to help,” Khan says.
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