Written by SETF Media and Communications Director, Cassie Chesley about SETF’s civil society engagement with Syrian women.

One of the most rewarding aspects of SETF fieldwork is providing a space for Syrians of all backgrounds and religious orientations to meet and interact. SETF recently initiated programs with a focus on female empowerment and government training, mainly designed at encouraging and preparing women to engage with civil society and participate actively in local governance. Women from all over Syria, Idlib, Hassakah, Lattakia, Aleppo, and Homs attended a training on how to run for local office and good governance practices.

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Welcome to Syria Media Roundup, a new Syrian Emergency Task Force blog that will attempt to provide some context to coverage of the civil-conflict in the Levant. We will examine the important Syrian-related events of the week, whether they happen on Capitol Hill, within the conflict zone, or in the NGO community. We hope this blog can function as a collaborative tool, both informing and starting a conversation with our readership.

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“We must not stand idle while our fellows bleed”

This was the statement, made by Jewish Syrian-activist Shlomo Bolts, that laid at the center of SETF’s Wednesday, July 31 interfaith event at the United Methodist Building in Washington D.C. This event, which was intended to engage communities of the major Abrahamic faiths with the humanitarian crises taking place in Syria, was a great success, with three enlightening speakers and an engaged audience made up of concerned members of the public and professionals of relevant background.

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“We believe that bolstering grassroots initiatives such as civilian councils and nurturing the democratic, moderate elements within Syrian society is the best way to combat extremism, but also to build a free, equal, and democratic Syria for all Syrians. Syria is a country that has not had access to civil society for around 50 years. In order for a democracy to succeed in Syria, the international community must provide access to the skills and resources necessary to empower the Syrian people to come forward and lead themselves to a brighter future,” said Syrian Emergency Task Force executive director Mouaz Moustafa.

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