25 avril 2016

Boosting cooperation between Switzerland and Syria

Students Steven Dixon, Elsa Romera Moreno and Amal Sadozai, Master candidates in International Affairs, have finalised a report, Syrian Civil Society and the Swiss Humanitarian Community: Challenge, Opportunity and the Future of Syria, as part of their Applied Research Seminar (ARS) project, presented at a recent workshop at Maison de la paix.

The report was the result of seven months’ research, conducted in partnership with Geo Expertise. It was followed by conducting a workshop that brought together a range of stakeholders, including five major Swiss non-governmental organisations, Terre des hommes, Medair, Caritas, Vivere and HEKS/EPER, the Syrian organisations Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations (UOSSM) and Help Syria, and the international consultants Smruti Patel and Koenraad Van Braband, as well as the Aga Khan Foundation and donor Swiss Solidarity.

The students’ report, including fieldwork in Gaziantep, Turkey, close to the Syrian border, impressed Ahmed Haj Asaad and Professor Ronald Jaubert, Directors of Geo Expertise. They have therefore decided to retain the services of the students as a research team, who will now make regular visits to Gaziantep to facilitate efficient coordination between humanitarian organisations in Switzerland and Syria.

“We are really happy with the possibility to continue our research,” said the students. “There is great potential to maintain the conversation with both Syrian and Swiss organisations, and to put our report’s recommendations into practice.”

Steven, Elsa and Amal are now working with Geo Expertise to secure further funding streams for their projects, and plan to organise a mirror workshop in Gaziantep to help foster closer working ties between Swiss and Syrian humanitarian actors. The students will also be publishing an article in the journal Confluences Méditerranée.

The output document from the recent workshop is available here.