Professor of Middle East Studies at the National Defence University

Dr. Jouejati is a professor of Middle East Studies at the National Defence University, Near East South Asia Centre for Strategic Studies. He is also an adjunct professor of Political Science and International Affairs at the George Washington University as well as an adjunct scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C. He has more than two decades of experience researching and working on the political, social and economic aspects of the Middle East. He served as an advisor to the European Commission Delegation in Damascus and organised several EU-funded regional development programmes, including civil society projects. Prior to that he served with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), first as the National Programme Officer in Syria, then as a consultant to the Bureau of Arab States in New York. He holds a master's in Arab Area Studies and a doctorate in Political Science. Dr. Jouejati is a member of the Syrian National Council.

Mr. Rifai earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of Miami in 1982. After returning to the Middle East, he started a company focused on infrastructure, solid waste management and general municipal projects in Syria, Iraq, the UAE and Tunisia. As a board member and co-founder of Syria's only consultation and arbitration firm, Mr. Rifai was part of the team in charge of setting up the Syrian Ministry of Local Administration's 2009 master plan. His firm also oversaw arbitration between regional players, including the dispute over the Damascus International Airport Project between the government of Malaysia and the Syrian Civil Aviation authority. Mr. Rifai has also been involved in humanitarian and medical aid during the crisis in Syria, participating in workshops, seminars and high-level meetings in the EU and the U.S.

Chairman, Syrian Organisation for Human Rights (Sawasiyah)

Mr. Alhasani is a civil rights attorney and well-known activist with expertise on law and human rights. His defence of human rights in Syria led to his arrest and subsequent life-long prohibition from practising law by the Damascus Branch of the Lawyers Bar Association. He was one of the founders of Syria's National Committee for the Defence of Prisoners of Opinion and Conscience in 2001 and is both a founding member and current Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Syrian Organisation for Human Rights (Sawasiyah), which was established in 2004. He is also a founder of the Coalition of Defenders of Justice for Syria (Adala), established in 2011, and a member of the International Law Commission in Geneva.

Founding member of the EuroArab Forum

Dr. Eeckelaert holds a master’s degree in European politics from Montreal University and a doctorate in Transatlantic Electoral Assistance from Leuven University, Belgium. She gained significant field experience as a research assistant to the Canadian Mission to the EU, the Security and Defence Agenda, and the NATO-Parliamentary Assembly. She is also an associate editor at the Central European Journal for International and Security Studies (CEJISS). She published, lectured and worked as a project manager at various institutions including HIVA, CIMIC and McGill University. Currently she works as a senior information and communication expert for the European Commission ENPI-Info Centre with a focus on south Mediterranean countries. She is also a founding member of the EuroArab Forum.

Managing Director of EMPOWER Research Center

Mr. Samman is the founder and managing partner of EMPOWER Management Consulting and managing director of EMPOWER Research Centre based in Doha, Qatar. He holds a master's degree in human resources management from American University. Mr. Samman is also a certified professional in Global Human Resources Management (GPHR) from the American HR Certification Institute (HRCI) with 22 years of executive experience. His areas of expertise include organisational development and structure, change and performance management, job design, communication, training and career development. He is the founder and executive chairman of the HR Executives Club and executive steering committee member of the HR Best Practice Group in Qatar. He is a co-founder of Syria Foundation, a world-class NGO focused on rebuilding Syria.