The EastWest Institute (EWI) welcomed today Abdalaziz Alhamza as a Visiting Scholar from the McCain Institute’s Next Generation Leaders (NGL) program. Alhamza is from Syria and will support EWI’s Middle East and North Africa Program with a focus on examining the eventual post-conflict reconstruction of his native country. He will be with the institute for one year.
“We warmly welcome Abdalaziz and look forward to his playing a role in support of our programmatic work in the Middle East,” said Cameron Munter, CEO & President, the EastWest Institute. “His unique experience, insights and vision for rebuilding Syria, through a combination of international aid and tailored training programs, maps ideally to the institute’s efforts and complements ongoing projects our experts engage on across the region.”
Alhamza is an award-winning Syrian journalist, human rights defender and activist. Alhamza started non-violent protests and demonstrations against the Syrian regime in 2011 and was arrested by the regime three times in 2012. After ISIS took control of his hometown, Raqqa, in January 2014, he escaped to Turkey and co-founded Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS), a non-partisan, independent organization that exposes the atrocities committed by the Bashar Al-Assad regime and ISIS in Syria.
His reporting, including smuggled video footage and images, has been featured on CNN, BBC, Al-Jazeera, MSNBC, Fox News, CBS and other media outlets.
Alhamza has received many awards and honors on behalf of RBSS including: the International Press Freedom award by the Committee to Protect Journalists in 2015; named a Global Thinker by Foreign Policy; the Ischia International Journalism Award in 2016; the Civil Courage Prize in 2016; among others.
He was also the subject of the documentary City Of Ghosts, directed by Oscar-nominated director Matthew Heineman. City Of Ghosts was named to the Oscar Documentary Feature shortlist in 2018.
He has lectured around the world about ISIS and how to combat extremist ideology including at the White House, the United Nations, the United States Congress, the American National Security Council, the German Foreign Office, the Italian Foreign Ministry and the Oslo Freedom Forum.
Image: Wikimedia Commons