This episode was recorded as a live broadcast on the 28th March 2022.
Located at the junction between Asia and the Mediterranean, Syria has a fascinating and unique history. The country was the site of various early civilisations, and is home today to a diverse range of religious and ethnic groups. Syria has faced a number of political, economic and security challenges since gaining independence from France in 1946, and since 2011 has been devastated by a protracted and complex conflict involving both local and international players. More than a decade on, Syria’s position on the international stage is beginning to change. The World Health Organisation recently appointed Syria to its executive board and Interpol readmitted Syria to its network. Algeria and Egypt have pushed to re-invite Syria to Arab League membership.
As conflict in Syria continues, is there hope for greater stability in the coming years? How has the conflict in Syria altered geopolitical reactions to conflict globally? What does Russia’s invasion of Ukraine mean for Syria? Does the recent reintegration of Syria into international organisations risk normalising Assad’s regime? And crucially, is there hope for stability in Syria in the coming years?
Ghadi Sary – Managing Partner, Governance House, a Middle-East-based consultancy that provides expertise and advises on governance and legal, political and socio-economic risk in the region. His work to date has included expert opinion on counterterrorism for legal proceedings and arbitration, and advisory services for international agencies and companies looking to navigate hostile environments in the Levant and across the greater Middle East. Ghadi has covered political affairs in the Arab world since his time as a News Producer at BBC. He was a member of the award-winning newsgathering team that covered developments in the Syrian conflict from 2011 until 2015, and led the production team that covered the withdrawal of government forces and the takeover of ISIS in Northern Iraq and Mosul, and the ensuing international military and political effort to combat terrorism in both Iraq and Syria.
On the panel:
Chris McNaboe – Field Officer for the Carter Center’s work on Syria, based between Beirut and Istanbul. Chris is the developer and former manager of the Syria Conflict Mapping Project, which has tracked armed group formations and networks, conflict events, and frontline changes in Syria since 2012. He has served on the Tech Advisory Board of the International Criminal Court, and currently sits on the Advisory Board for Carnegie Mellon University’s Center for Human Rights Science.
Oudai Tozan – Doctoral Candidate at the University of Cambridge researching the potential role of the Syrian diaspora academics and researchers in rebuilding the higher education sector of Syria. He is currently a co-chair of the University of Cambridge Peace and Education Research Group (CPERG). Most recently, he co-founded and managed the International Syrian Association for Education Development, an international network of over 150 researchers, academics and professionals working on projects to support Syrian students to access higher education in the Levant region. Also, he recently managed the first online conference for the Syrian Diaspora “Syrians Around the World”, attracting 1200 Syrian attendees from 50 countries.
Dr Rim Turkmani – Senior Policy Fellow at LSE IDEAS. She directs the Syria conflict research programme and is a is the principal investigator of the research project Legitimacy and citizenship in the Arab world. She is member of the LSE Middle East Centre Academic Committee and is a member of the Women’s Advisory Board to the UN special envoy to Syria. Her research work focuses on legitimate governance in the Middle East, local conflict and peace drivers in Syria and the relationship between the local and external drivers of the conflict. She is an Astrophysicist by training, previous Dorothy Hodgkin fellow of the Royal Society and writer/curator on the history Islamic science and culture. She curated the international Arabick Roots exhibitions which traces the influence of Arabic/Islamic science and culture on 17th century Europe and which was exhibited at The Royal Society in London in 2011 and at the Doha Museum of Islamic Art in 2012. She published a book Arabick Roots as well as catalogues to accompany the exhibitions. She also contributed to Cosmos and Culture exhibition at the Science Museum in London and to 1001 Inventions.
Dr Carsten Wieland – German diplomat, former senior UN consultant, Middle East, and conflict expert with high-ranking mediation experience. From 2014 till 2019, he served with three UN Special Envoys for Syria as Senior Expert for Intra-Syrian Talks and senior political advisor. Carsten also worked in the Syria team of the Foreign Office in Berlin and as director of the German Information Center for the Arab World in Cairo. Currently, he works as a Senior Policy Adviser for the Middle East in the Green Party Parliamentary Group in the German Bundestag. Carsten has published articles and books on Syria, nationalism, ethnic conflicts in the Balkans and in South Asia, on Islamism and secularism. His latest book “Syria and the Neutrality Trap: The Dilemmas of Delivering Humanitarian Aid through Violent Regimes” was published in July 2021. Carsten also teaches conflict and conflict resolution at New York University (NYU) Berlin campus and is an Associate Fellow at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP).