In this video recorded on the sidelines of the 2018 ANU Crawford Leadership Forum, Distinguished Professor of Political Science Amin Saikal discusses the obstacles facing a negotiated settlement in the highly complex Syrian conflict and the opportunities and challenges for democratic nations to make a positive impact on the long running crisis with Dr Bassma Kodmani from the Arab Reform Initiative.
Dr Bassma Kodmani is a co-founder of the Arab Reform Initiative and serves as its Executive Director since 2005. She is also Associate Professor of International Relations at Paris University, currently on leave from her post.
She has served as senior adviser on international cooperation at the French National Research Council (2007-09), Associate Senior Research Fellow at CERI-Sciences Po (2006-07), adviser to the director of the Académie Diplomatique Internationale (2007-2009) and Senior Visiting Fellow at the Collège de France (2005-06). From 1998 to 2005, she served as Senior Program Officer for Governance and International Cooperation at the Ford Foundation office for the Middle East and North Africa in Cairo where she was in charge of support to research institutions, NGOs and public agencies in the region. From 1981 to 1998, she established and directed the Middle East Program at the Institut Français des Relations Internationales (IFRI) in Paris. She has extensive experience in track II negotiations.
In 2011, she took a temporary leave from the Arab Reform Initiative to take on a mission as Head of Foreign Relations and spokesperson with the Syrian National Council, the opposition coalition seeking democratic change in Syria. She resigned from that role in 2012. In 2016, she joined the delegation of the democratic opposition in the Geneva peace talks on Syria. She is also the co-founder and treasurer of the Initiative for a New Syria, an NGO based in Paris which supports democratic civil society in Syria.