International Alert is helping to create a new diaspora network for promoting peace in Syria called the Syrian Platform for Peace.
In mid-2014, Alert commissioned research into the role that the diaspora plays in supporting peace in Syria, which highlighted a number of challenges faced by the community in fully realising their peacebuilding potential.
In response to these findings, Alert convened a group of UK-based Syrian civil society organisations to discuss and share the research on the topic. The organisations present reiterated the need for improved networking among Syrian diaspora members, and the need for a joint platform from which the Syrian diaspora might reach out to others, including those in the UK government who are formulating policy on the response to the Syria crisis.
Following the meeting, the organisations asked Alert to act as an impartial facilitator to the process of establishing a ‘Syrian Platform for Peace’. A steering group of Syrian organisations based across the UK has since been formed and the platform will be formally launched in February 2015.
The vision of the platform is ‘A peaceful Syria, where people manage their conflicts without recourse to any form of violence.’
Its mission is ‘To provide an open platform through which a diversity of Syrian organisations and individuals can work together to promote and build peace among Syrians, inside and outside of Syria.’
Its objectives are to:
- Build and strengthen relationships between Syrians and Syrian organisations in the UK, between these organisations and policy-makers, and between Syrian networks of self-reliance and other international relief and development agencies;
- Strengthen understanding of the complexity of the Syrian context and ways in which peacebuilding can address it; and
- Support, build capacity of and add value to its members (sharing innovation, good practice, and recognition for members).
And the values underpinning the platform are:
- unity in diversity
- inclusivity and transparency
- participation and collaboration
- adding value to what exists
The platform is open to both individuals and organisations, so far comprising of Syrian civil society organisations based in different parts of the UK, including London, Manchester and Leeds. Current members include Rethink Rebuild Society, Help for Syria, Syria Relief, Free Syrian Translators, Syrian British Medical Society, Juzoor for Health and Social Development, Enab Baladi, House of Kurds, Scotland4Syria and the Syrian Association of Yorkshire.
- Read our Peace Focus paper The long road to peace: Why engaging the diaspora is essential to building peace in Syria.
- Watch our Peace Talks panel discussion on What is the role of the Syrian diaspora in building peace? (18 February 2015).
For the latest updates on the Syrian Platform for Peace, you can follow it on Twitter and Facebook. If you are a Syrian individual or organisation based in the UK and are interested in becoming a member of the Syrian Platform for Peace, please send us your details here.