Building Democracy in Syria

14 September 2009 - 17:30 to 18:30

Chatham House, London


Speaker: Radwan Ziadeh, Visiting Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Programme, Chatham House
Chair: Claire Spencer, Head, Middle East and North Africa Programme, Chatham House



Radwan Ziadeh will discuss how Syria can benefit from its history to rebuild democracy, with reference to the democratic institutions that existed prior to the 1963 Ba'ath party coup. In 1951, Syria became the first Arab country to grant women the vote, and during this time also had a vibrant independent press. Despite this legacy, Syria currently faces complex challenges in the areas of democracy, accountability, rule of law and minorities.

Radwan Ziadeh is a Visiting Fellow at Chatham House and a scholar at the Center for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University in New York. He is the founder and director of the Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies in Syria, the co-founder and executive director of the Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Washington and the managing editor of the "Transitional Justice in the Arab World" project.

To enable as open a debate as possible, this event will be held under the Chatham House Rule.