Mariela Shaker, born in 1990 in Aleppo, Syria, started playing the violin at the age of ten when she joined the Arabic Institute of Music in Aleppo. Mariela studied Business Administration and graduated from the University of Aleppo in 2012. As civil war escalated in 2013, Mariela received a scholarship to attend Monmouth College in Illinois to study Music Performance. She applied for asylum in the United States as she was unable to return to her war-torn home in Syria. Her parents are still living in Aleppo. Mariela has been awarded a full-tuition academic scholarship to study for her Master in Music Performance at DePaul University. She has performed at the Kennedy Center part of UNHCR and was honored at the White House as a “champion of change” on refugee issues. In December she played for members of the U.S. legislature and for the First Scottish Minister, Nicola Sturgeon. Mariela has recently performed and spoke at the White House, Brooking Institute, Pentagon Conference, United Nations, Aspen Ideas Festival, Arab American Institute, Georgetown and George Washington universities, Harvard and many others… Mariela is trying to use her music to build bridges and raise awareness for the plights of the Syrian people. Mariela has been profiled by the Huffington Post, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, Buzz Feed Woman's Day and many others.