Syrian representative to the United Nations to speak Sept. 7 at Elon

The senior negotiator and democracy activist will speak on the current state of the civil war and prospects for peace.

Elon University’s Center for the Study of Religion, Culture and Society (CSRCS) will present Najib Ghadbian, a special representative for the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces to the United States and United Nations on Wednesday, Sept. 7, in the Numen Lumen Pavilion. 

Najib Ghadbian, Syrian National Coalition
Ghadbian will help the Elon community understand the current state of the Syrian civil war, the war-torn country’s future and the effect of the crisis on the entire global community.  

According to the United Nations, the Syrian crisis continues to be the “biggest humanitarian emergency of our era.” After five years of war and as many as 500,000 dead, nearly five million refugees have fled to other parts of the Middle East or Europe with no end to the conflict in Syria in sight.

Ghadbian is a Syrian pro-democracy activist and academic. He served on the board of the Day After Project, a cooperative movement by members of the Syrian opposition to outline a plan to rebuild the country and end the Syrian conflict once Bashar al-Assad is out of power.

Helping arrange Ghadbian’s visit to Elon has been Associate Professor of Management Systems Haya Ajjan, who was born in Damascus, Syria, and has worked to bring several representatives of the coalition to Elon since the war began in 2011. She has several family members remaining in Syria with whom she is in regular contact. “The situation in the besieged areas of Syria is a humanitarian catastrophe,” Ajjan said. “People are watching their loved ones die of starvation and of diseases and injuries that are treatable. The suffering of civilians is being used as a tactic of war by different fighting groups.”

“Elon is fortunate to host a figure so central to the multinational negotiations over the shape of a post-conflict Syria as Dr. Ghadbian,” said CSRCS Director, Brian Pennington. “Dr. Ghadbian is a long-established champion of democracy in the Middle East and a democratic Syria.”

The event on Wednesday, Sept. 7, at 5:30 p.m. in the McBride Gathering Space of the Numen Lumen Pavilion is free and open to the public.