Syria- Six Years On: From Destruction to Reconstruction

Wednesday April 5th - Thursday April 6th, 2017

EuroCSE Syria Conference Statement:

Raise Grievances, Eradicate Extremism and Make Peace

The European Centre for the Study of Extremism, Cambridge (EuroCSE) aims to engage a global audience on one of the most central issues of our time, namely the problems in Syria. Our international conference will be held on 5th-6th April 2017. We aim to promote responsible and enlightened discussion between academics, practitioners (professionals, such as psychologists, sociologists and economists), politicians and policy makers, in an effort to generate clear and compassionate approaches to solve these challenging problems. We have brought together a world-class group of experts to collate a body of knowledge so that we are equipped to address this complex crisis.

This incredible opportunity to be a part of resolving the repeated cycles of violence that exist in Syria, and examine the ways in which these aspects affect the international purview, offers a unique space for analysing how we can best improve well-being and effect positive adaptations between the areas of practice, policy development and evaluation within society, to improve stability and overall global health.

Compassion-driven leadership is at the heart of our endeavours. EuroCSE envisions the possibility of open thinking, and facilitates communication to resolve senseless cycles of violence and other associated problems, in an effort to promulgate good will toward positively reversing suffering, and replacing it with sustainable and meaningful tolerance.

Our title for this conference is: Syria – Six Years On: From Destruction to Reconstruction. Our focal point for discussion is the Syrian Arab Republic and the widespread destruction across the country due to war. We are working with multidisciplinary expertise to find sustainable approaches to healing these problems.

There is a need to reconstruct Syria as a nation (physically and psychologically) and work towards dialogue, fostering tolerance and reconciliation, and resolve the trauma across the country and within the region, which is necessary for working towards peace.

EuroCSE is an academic research centre, comprised of renowned psychologists, professionals and academics. We believe that peace can and will be achieved even between those of differing perspectives. Mediation is necessary in conflict resolution and as intellectuals we feel responsible for our societies and believe that our conferences are a form of Track Two Diplomacy.

Almost 50 speakers will be speaking at a two-day conference discussing national, regional and international dimensions of this ongoing conflict. Hence, in front of academics, diplomats, media and other professionals, the conference will consist of ten thematic panels. Within these panels, academics and experts in various fields of study will present their papers, which will be followed by critical discussion and engagement.
We seek to promote an atmosphere conducive for deep conflict resolution. It is through inclusiveness and compassionate discussion and critical analysis that reconciliation and peace will be achieved in Syria, and indeed elsewhere in the world.
The high-profile international conference will host a diverse audience from across the globe. We learn from the reconciliation experience of senior figures such as our patron Lord Dr Eames in the Irish case. Last December we held in Cambridge a conference on Turkey, in which opposing views were represented, and despite initial reluctance and disbelief, this opened up a dialogue.

Raising grievance is part of a healing process. This conference, however, is about resolving extremism, avoiding reactionary politics and propaganda, and therefore it is about establishing mature responsible dialogue, understanding, fostering tolerance and paving a way for reconciliation and peace.
Everybody involved in this discourse cares about and is emotionally invested in Syria and its fate. Our conference provides an important platform for responsible diplomacy with the goal of resolution of war and healing distress. Syria needs reconstruction, reconciliation and peace; we believe that our first Patron and Keynote speaker at the conference The Rt. Rev. and Rt. Honorable, Baron of Oystermouth, Lord Dr Rowan Williams, Master of Magdalene College is best placed to advocate for peace in Syria and to facilitate this evolving dialogue for peace.

The Rt Hon and Rt Rev the Lord Dr Rowan Williams of Oystermouth- Lord Dr Rowan Douglas Williams is a Welsh Anglican bishop and theologian, poet and academic. He has been acknowledged internationally as an exceptional theological writer and scholar whose interests also involve contemporary culture and interfaith related issues. Lord Dr Williams was the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury, Metropolitan of the Province of Canterbury and Primate of All England (Dec 2002-Dec 2012). He was also previously the Bishop of Monmouth and Archbishop of Wales, which made him the first Archbishop of Canterbury in contemporary times, who was not appointed from within the Church of England. Lord Dr. Williams also taught as an academic at the University of Cambridge and Oxford, successively. He is a Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge since January 2013, and was introduced to the temporal benches of the House of Lords on January 15th, 2013.

Dr Makram Khoury-Machool


Cambridge, 31.03.2017

The European Centre for the Study of Extremism, Cambridge (EuroCSE) will be hosting a two-day international conference on Syria in April 2017 [05-06.04.17], to mark six years of ongoing conflict.

Conference Rationale

The on-going war on Syria- which developed into a global conflict, has entered its sixth consecutive year. The once economically self-reliant and pluralistic Levantine society- the Syrian Arab Republic- is now at the forefront of an international conflagration, with hundreds of thousands dead and millions of Syrian refugees dispersed across the world. A significant portion of Syria’s population is now suffering from starvation and malnutrition. Syria is now at the centre of an international crisis, with rival global and regional players lined up on opposing sides, backing surrogate forces within Syria’s borders.

Before 2011, the sovereign, secular state of Syria was a relatively prosperous country, where health and education was free to all and the population attained a high level of literacy. Syria’s ancient civilisation, culture and diverse heritage was proudly displayed across the country, swelling with tourism and constructive dialogue was promoted amongst varied communities and spiritual leaders.

The downward spiral from growth and prosperity to destruction and depravation, means the future of Syria is now an international responsibility. Civil society, especially in the West, must engage in Syria’s future in a more profound and productive manner. The re-construction of Syria requires new approaches to move beyond the divisions that have contributed to prolonging the war, with the aim of destroying the very fabric of Syrian society.

Six years on, it seems that the beginning of the end of the war has just begun. This conference is thus not only timely and imperative, but it also seeks to kick start the creation of effective dialogue, by promoting national reconciliation across Syria.


Defining Conflict: War on Syria? War in Syria? Civil War? War of Words? Proxy War? Religious or Sectarian War? Syria & the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) States; Relations: The Syrian Arab Republic; the Russian Federation & the Islamic Republic of Iran; Relations: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; the State of Qatar; the Republic of Turkey; Relations: NATO Countries Uni or Bi- Polar World Order? The United States vs the Russian Federation; The Refugee Crisis; Syria & the European Union; Medical Situation, Doctors, Hospitals; Reconstruction in Syria; The Military Industrial Complex; The Role of Media & Art in the Syria Conflict; Opposition Forces- Inter-Rebel Conflict; ISIS/ISIL/Al-Qaeda; Role of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO’s); ​The Syrian Kurdish Files; Cost of Sanctions on Syria- Justified or Unjustified? Third Party State Funding of Non-State Armed Groups; Development work in Syria; Syria’s Natural Resources; The Role of International Law; Syria, Iran & the Nuclear Deal; The Role of the State of Israel in Syria; Palestine & Syria 2011-2017; The MENA 2011-2017 & Syria; Syria’s Archaeological Treasures, Peace-building or Peace-sabotage? The Role of Ceasefires

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