Three Syrian Women on BBC 100 Women 2020 List

Scientist Safaa al-Qamari, director Waad al-Khatib, and children's book illustrator and writer Nadine Kaadan (edited by Enab Baladi)

Scientist Safaa al-Qamari, director Waad al-Khatib, and children's book illustrator and writer Nadine Kaadan (edited by Enab Baladi)

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On Tuesday, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) published its 2020 list of 100 inspirational women worldwide, which included three Syrian women.

According to the BBC, the 100 Women List sheds light on those who have spearheaded change and made a difference during this “turbulent time in which the world is living.”

Syrian names include botanical virologist Safaa al-Qamari, documentary maker Waad al-Khatib, and children’s book illustrator Nadine Kaadan.

Safaa al-Qamari

Since 2015, Dr. al-Qamari has been the head of the Seed Health and Viral Diseases Laboratory at the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA).

Al-Qamari obtained a bachelor’s degree from the College of Agriculture at the University of Aleppo (1985), a master’s degree in plant protection from the College of Agriculture at Tishreen University (1994), and a doctorate in plant protection from the College of Agriculture at the University of Aleppo (2002).

Between 1987 and 2015, al-Qamari worked in the field of viral diseases affecting leguminous crops and grains at ICARDA, detecting viral diseases in Central and West Asia and North Africa, detecting on the family range and lack of production, selecting virus-resistant varieties, virus transfer, control, serological tests, and the production of vaccines to detect viral diseases that affect leguminous crops and grains.

During the past 20 years, she supervised eight master’s students and seven doctoral students in the field of viral diseases. She trained about 300 researchers from different countries in the Central and West Asia and North Africa region on various topics in viral diseases and seed health.

Al-Qamari is looking for treatments for epidemics that affect agricultural crops, and after discovering seeds that can ensure food security in her country of Syria, al-Qamari has been risking her life in order to save these seeds from the city of Aleppo.

Waad al-Khatib

Khatib is the director of the documentary, For Sama, which has won dozens of awards over the past two years.

The documentary was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Feature Documentary category but lost to American Factory, directed by American directors Stephen Bojnar and Julia Reichert.

The documentary, which is the director’s message to her daughter, Sama, in the Syrian city of Aleppo, has won more than 50 awards since it premiered in 2019.

The film is the diaries of Khatib during the five-year war in the city of Aleppo, including her marriage and the birth of her daughter, Sama, in addition to stories of survival and loss.

The film is 95 minutes, was produced by the British Channel 4, and was released on Mar. 11, 2019.

Nadine Kaadan

Kaadan was born in the French capital, Paris, in 1985, but she lived most of her life in Syria. She obtained a bachelor’s in Fine Arts from the University of Damascus.

She received a diploma in children’s book illustration from St. Martin’s College of Art and Design in London in 2007.

She is currently working in drawing and designing children’s books for a large number of Arab and international publishing houses, working as a graphic designer for several companies, and designing advertising campaigns such as designing the advertising campaign for International Children’s Day.

This article is translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. 

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