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The Team

Dr haytham alhamwi


Haytham Alhamwi was a prominent activist and community leader in Syria. In the early 2000s he started various civil initiatives in his hometown Darayya aiming to flourish the civil society and encourage local initiatives. As a result of his civil and peaceful activism, he was detained for two and half years between 2003 and 2005. After his release, he went back to his job as an Assisting Teacher at the Faculty of Medicine, Damascus University before we moved to the UK in 2007 to continue his postgraduate studies. With the start of the Syrian uprising in 2011, Haytham played a key role in the coordination with activists across the city of Manchester to enhance efforts of advocacy and humanitarian response supporting the Syrian cause. He then co-founded the Rethink Rebuild Society, a charity organisation that supports Syrian refugees in the UK, which he still leads. Dr Alhamwi holds MD and MSc degrees from the University of Damascus and a PhD in Occupational Epidemiology from the University of Manchester.

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mazen gharibah

Chief Executive

Mazen Gharibah is a Syrian academic and civil society activist from Homs. He is a researcher at the Conflict and Civil Society Research Unit in the Department of International Development at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Previously he worked as a governance advisor with Adam Smith International and GIZ and a consultant for several international think tanks. Mr Gharibah has a number of publications on legitimacy, elections and the roles of local governance and civil society actors during the Syrian conflict. He combines academic research with policy work and strong grassroot experience. Mr Gharibah has a Master’s degree in Governance, Development and Public Policy from the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex. 

waad al-khateab

Board Member 

Waad Al-Khateab is the pseudonym of a Syrian journalist, filmmaker, and activist. She was listed on the Times 100 Most Influential People and the BBC Top 100 Women.  Her documentary, For Sama (2019), was nominated for four BAFTA at the 73rd British Academy Film Awards, winning for Best Documentary, and the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 92nd Academy Awards. Her coverage of the Battle for Aleppo won an International Emmy Award for Current Affairs & News for Channel 4 News. For covering the Siege of Aleppo, Waad won an International Emmy for her reporting, the first Syrian to do so. For Sama became the most nominated documentary in the history of the British Academy Film Awards with four nominations, winning for Best Documentary. Waad resides in London.

ibrahim olabi

Board Member 

Ibrahim Olabi is a barrister at Guernica 37 and the founder of the Syrian Legal Development Programme (SLDP), which has attracted the support of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, Canada, Germany and The Netherlands in conducting its human rights work on Syria. As part of Guernica, Ibrahim is working on international legal cases for crimes committed in Syria, and is currently counsel to the Netherlands in a case that may end up before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Syria for Torture. He was present in Syria when the chemical attack of April 2017 took place, and regularly meets with policymakers in different countries, including foreign ministers, on policy issues in Syria.


He is currently at the University of Oxford doing a Master of Public Policy, and previously consulted for the International Bar Association and the UN on Syria human rights matters.

Amina Khoulani

Board Member 

Amina Khoulani is a long-time civil society activist. As a survivor of the Assad regime’s detention and torture centres, she has dedicated her life to helping the families of forcibly disappeared Syrians. Amina was imprisoned for six months for her peaceful activism, her husband was also detained for two and a half years. They survived, but her three brothers died while in regime custody. From this devastating experience, Amina rededicated her life to seeking information and justice for the families of the disappeared. She is a founding member of Families for Freedom, a women-led movement launched in 2017 by families who’s loved ones have been detained and disappeared in Syria. Forced from her home and country, living under constant threat as a refugee without government representation, she continues to advocate for human rights, democracy, and peace in Syria.

Dr Abdulkarim Ekzayez

Board Member 

Dr Abdulkarim Ekzayez is a Syrian medical doctor and an epidemiologist. Currently his work as a research associate with King's College London focuses on health systems in the middle east and on strenghtening the health system in northern Syria. In 2013, Karim was training to be a neurosurgeon when his residency was interrupted by the war. Consequntly, he worked in many field hospitals in northwest Syria. He was also the health lead for Save the Children in Syrian between 2013 and 2016. He was part of supporting the rebuilding of the health system in opposition controlled areas in Syria using a bottom up approach. He is a trustee member of two NGOs, Shafak and Refugee Trauma Initiative. Dr Ekzayez received his MD from Aleppo University and his MSc from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Also, he completed a fellowship on leadership in international affairs from The Queen Elizabeth II Academy for Leadership in International Affairs at Chatham House; and another fellowship in international relations from the Institute for International Cultural Relations at The University of Edinburgh.

Samera Tayan

Board Member 

Samera Tayan is a co-founder of Souriat Across Borders (SAB), a Syria focused charitable organisation, trustee and chair of the board. She has previous work experience in charity and social work including being a member of the Syrian Friends in Britain society. Samera has many years of experience in the charity and social work sector where she has co-founded SAB and operates as a trustee and chair of the board. Samera also works to help integrate refugees into British society with her work with the Syrian friends of Britain society.  Samera also has a BA in Business Administration from the University of King Saoud in KSA. She is based in Manchester, UK.

Dr Sharif Kaf al-Ghazal

Board Member 

Sharif Kaf Al-Ghazal is a Consultant Plastic, Reconstructive & Hand surgeon at Bradford Teaching Hospitals in West Yorkshire. He is also an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the Medical School at the University of Leeds. He is one of the founders and the President of the British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA). He is also the Editor of Chief of the Journal of the British Islamic Medical Association (JBIMA). He is the founder and an executive member of the International Society for History of Islamic Medicine (ISHIM), and one of the Editorial Board of the Journal published regularly by ISHIM in Turkey. He is also a member of the advisory board for Centre for Islam, Medicine & Research (CIMR) in Canada. Moreover, Dr Kaf Al-Ghazal was recently elected as Chairman of the Board of 1001 Cures Ltd; a new organisation owned by FSTC, an initiative to promote inter-cultural respect and appreciation through the history of medicine and health in Muslim and other civilisations. He is also a member of the board of directors of the Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation (FSTC).

Dr Mohamed Fadel Moghrabi

Board Member 

​Mohamed Fadel Moghrabi is a Syrian British, Cardiothoracic Surgeon. Dr Fadel has been active in advocacy for Syria even before the start of the Syrian revolution. He is a member of the Association to Defend Detainees in Syria (ADDS) and the Chairman of the Political Committee for Syrian Detainees (PCSD) which is an international movement to advocate for the immediate release for all political detainees in Syria. Dr Moghrabi played active roles in supporting the Syrian Revolution since it started in 2011 through coordination, advocacy and lobbying in the UK and internationally.

Abdulaziz Almashi

Board Member 

Abdulaziz Almashi is a Network and Cyber Security Consultant. He moved to the UK in 2009 to do his postgraduate studies at Queen Mary, University of London. Almashi was inspired by the democratic movements against dictatorship across the Arab world over the last decade. When the Syria Revolution sparked back in 2011, he became a prominent human rights activist leading various civil and political activities against the dictatorial regime of Assad. Almashi is the founder of the Syria Solidarity Campaign (SSC), and the co-founder of Solidarity with Refugees (SwR).

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