Defending the Syria that is Ours


Date: 22 May 2023
Venue: Online
Time: 19:00
Tickets: Free
Ages: All



Hailing from the much-respected Syrian media platform, Al-Jumhuriya, Editor, Rasha Abbas and Editor in Chief and Co-founder Yassin Swehat share their reflections on their efforts at crafting a contemporary understanding of Syria today. 

Al-Jumhuriya’s cultural and journalistic work has contributed to highlighting and maintaining a comprehensive understanding of ‘Syria’ as a country, people and place, despite the many ruptures – whether geographic or civic – and the ensuing displacement of Syrians today.  

This idea of ‘Syria’ that is upheld in Al- Jumhuriya’s work is neither a denial or underestimation of the complexities on the ground, nor is it a romanticized escape that prevents an honest reckoning with these realities. Instead, their growing body of work sets out to candidly address these nuanced complexities. This upholds an orientation that any future outlook must strive to reckon with these complexities and preserve them in all their nuances whether, culturally, politically, socially and intellectually. 

The evening will also pause to reflect on the ways in which the Syrian solidarity that took shape in the aftermath of the earthquake that hit 3 months ago is but a reflection of this


This conversation will take place in Arabic, and will be accompined by live English translation.


The event will take place on Zoom with a meeting link shared closer to the date.

Kholoud Helmi

Kholoud Helmi is a gender and media expert and the co-founder and board member of Enab Baladi newspaper established in 2011. She believes that women are key in the development, peacebuilding and stability. Before fleeing Syria, she was an eyewitness to the shooting of peaceful demonstrators, arbitrary arrests and massacres that occurred in Darayya and surrounding towns committed by Assad’s regime. Her brother was arrested in 2012 because of helping IDPs from Homs city. She was the 2015winner of the Anna Politkovskaya Award for reporting about the Syrian events, and the 2017 winner of the International Association’s Courage Under Fire Award for the documentary Cries From Syria. In 2016, Marie Claire magazine called her ‘the bravest woman in the world’. Kholoud holds an MA in media and development from SOAS, university of London, and is a Chevening scholar.


Rasha Abbas

Writer – Culture Editor at

Yassin Swehat

Journalist, co-founder and executive editor at