MSU grad to establish skateboarding bond with Syrian refugees

May 5, 2016

Maen Hammad, the son of Palestinian refugees, grew up in Michigan and fell in love with skateboarding. On a trip back to the Middle East, he found others who loved the sport, too, and made a documentary about it. Now, he hopes to bring his sport’s therapeutic powers to Syrian refugees in Lebanon.


Back in March, MSU graduate Maen Hammad came back to his alma mater to give a TED talk about  a very special trip. Hammad was born in Palestine but grew up in Michigan. As a 9-year-old, he discovered skateboarding, and in time, what began as a hobby grew into a passion that ultimately matured into a mission.

Hammad traveled back to Palestine last year and made a documentary film about skateboarding called “Kickflips Over Occupation.” Since then, it’s been screened at the Ann Arbor Palestine Film Festival, and about a half a dozen other venues in Europe and North Africa.

Now, Hammad is skating into another adventure. In a couple of weeks, he’s going to Lebanon to meet with Syrian refugees who might enjoy the sport too.

Current State’s Kevin Lavery talks with Maen Hammad about these projects.