"Syrian Civil Society: A closing door" - Report Launch and panel discussion

Date: Thursday, 19 Sep 2019 5:00pm
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Christian Aid
35-41 Lower Marsh, London
Closest Tube: Waterloo
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You are invited to attend the launch of a Christian Aid report on Syrian civil society: “Syrian Civil Society: A closing door”. You can register for the event here.

Based on interviews with Syrian NGO staff, as well as with diplomatic and state donor institutions, this report considers the development of civil society in Syria since 2011: the vast leaps it made and the challenges it faced, to the present day where the civil society space is once more ever decreasing.

The report presents a picture of the impact of the militarisation of the uprising, the deliberate targetting of NGOs by government and armed groups, and the often negative impact of international funding on their work. It is a reminder of the incredible work that has been done under horrendous conditions, very often by people with little or no prior NGO experience. It is also a call to the international community to not forget this work as Syria slips from the headlines, to recognise the enormous importance of Syrian civil society to Syria's future.

Along with a presentation of the report's findings and recommendations, there will be an expert panel discussion on Syrian civil society followed by a Q+A session.

Confirmed panelists (see below for bios): John McHugo (Historian, Arabic linguist,International Lawyer), Sama Kiki (Dawlaty, Programme Director), Ibrahim Olabi (Syria Legal Development Programme, Director), and Allaa Barri (Chatham House, MENA Programme Manager)

The launch will take place on September 19th, 5-8pm at Christian Aid offices, 35 Lower Marsh.

Attendees are asked to arrive for 5pm with first speaker at 5.30pm.

For all queries, please contact mcollins@christian-aid.org

John McHugo

John McHugo's first visit to Syria was in 1974 and his most recent was in 2018. He is the author of Syria: A Recent History as well as A Concise History of the Arabs and A Concise History of Sunnis and Shi'is. He is a board member of CAABU and a trustee of the Balfour Project. After studying Arabic at university and postgraduate research into Medieval Islamic theology, he became a lawyer specialising in the laws of Arab countries. He has also worked on two international boundary disputes between sovereign states in the Middle East. www.johnmchugo.com

Sama Kiki

Sama Kiki is a Syrian activist and humanitarian worker living in London, UK. She holds an MSc. in Global Project Management from University of Essex. She is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Sanad Group for Aid and Development which is a voluntary group operating in Syria, offering zero interest loans to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). She is also a Co-Founder of Diaspora Exchanges Initiative, working with the Syrian Diaspora in the UK. She is currently working as Program Director with Dawlaty, a Syrian civil society organisation focusing on transitional justice.

Ibrahim Olabi

Ibrahim Olabi is the founder and director of the Syrian Legal Development Programme, an organisation addressing international law matters in the Syrian conflict. Olabi has trained more than 500 Syrians inside Syria and in neighbouring countries on matters of international humanitarian, human rights, and criminal law relevant to the Syrian conflict. He regularly engages global policy makers on human rights matters related to Syria. In 2017 he worked as a consultant for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the legality of local agreements that lead to population transfer in Syria. He is a consultant for the International Bar Association Human Rights Institute and in 2018 joined Guernica 37, International Justice Chambers as a barrister. He received his LLM in Security and International Law and LLB at the University of Manchester, where he was awarded both Undergraduate Student of the Year and the Postgraduate Taught Student of the Year.

Allaa Barri

Allaa is a programme manager in the Chatham House Middle East and North Africa (MENA) programme. She is also doing her PhD in social policy focusing on refugees’ integration in Europe at the University of Birmingham, funded by ESRC. Before joining Chatham House in January 2017, she worked in the humanitarian field for five years. Allaa started working with refugees in 2011, at the beginning of the Syrian crisis. Since then, she has worked with different local and international NGOs including the United Nations, Danish Refugee Council, and Minority Rights Group International.She holds an MSc in Development Administration and Planning from University College London (UCL) and BSc in Economics and Business Administration from Damascus University.