University of Cambridge > > Sinews of Sustainable Development Distinguished Speakers Series > SYRIA IS A CATASTROPHE. NOW WHAT?


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The Resilience and Sustainable Development Programme (RSDP) at the University of Cambridge presents a public lecture and panel discussion on how we can start to explore the systematic rebuilding of Syria.

The event will be chaired by the Right Honourable Andrew Mitchell, MP and features H.E Ambassador Rami Mortada of Lebanon; the BBC ’s Middle East Editor, Jeremy Bowen; Dr David Nott, OBE , the founder of the David Nott Foundation and Dr. Roxane Farmanfarmaian, a founding member of Cambridge Centre for the International Relations of the Middle East and North Africa (CIRMENA), of the University of Cambridge.

Discussants will debate and be challenged on the roles of the various stakeholders as well as their ideas about the resilience and sustainable development of Syria and the future of the people of Syria.

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H.E. Ambassador Rami Mortada, Lebanon: Ambassador of Lebanon to the UK, accredited since December 2017. He opened the Lebanese Embassy in Damascus, Syria, after the inauguration of diplomatic relations. Ambassador Mortada served as the Counsellor/Chargé d’Affaires in Syria. He is a member of the Lebanese delegation to several Euro-Med ministerial meetings and EU-Arab conferences. Trained as a lawyer, Mr Mortada joined the Foreign Service in 1993. He is active in multilateral and bilateral negotiations on building sustainable development and peace for the Middle East.

Jeremy Bowen, BBC Middle East Editor Mr Bowen is a Welsh journalist and television presenter. He was the BBC ’s Middle East correspondent based in Jerusalem between 1995 and 2000, and has been its Middle East Editor since 2005. As an expert on the region, Mr Bowen has interviewed political leaders such as the late Muammar Gaddafi of Libya. Mr Bowen was one of the few journalists inside Syria reporting on the civil war. In February 2015, he spoke with President Bashar al-Assad about the ongoing Syrian conflict during an exclusive BBC interview. His book, The Arab Uprisings: The People Want the Fall of the Regime, is well-regarded as a key source.

Dr David Nott OBE FRCS , Founder of the David Nott Foundation Dr Nott is a Consultant Surgeon at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. Along his medical practice, for the past twenty-three years David has taken unpaid leave each year to work for the aid agencies Médecins Sans Frontières, the International Committee of the Red Cross and Syria Relief. He has provided surgical treatment to the victims of conflict and catastrophe in Bosnia, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Chad, Darfur, Yemen, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Iraq, Pakistan, Libya, Syria, Central African Republic, Gaza and Nepal. He is active in fundraising for charitable causes and in teaching advanced surgical skills to local medics and surgeons when he is abroad. In London, he teaches the Definitive Surgical Trauma Skills (DSTS) and Surgical Training for the Austere Environment (STAE) courses at the Royal College of Surgeons.

Dr. Roxane Farmanfarmaian, University of Cambridge Roxane Farmanfarmaian is the Academic Director, International Relations, at the Institute of Continuing Education. Her research focuses on the inter-relationship between local Middle East interests and global (Western) power, using a range of theoretical and multi-disciplinary approaches. Drawing from her years as a professional journalist, she is particularly interested in the use of language and communication as they relate to a narrative, political identity, security and conflict. She is a founding member of the Centre for the International Relations of the Middle East and North Africa (CIRMENA), which is affiliated to POLIS , the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge From 2002-2005, she was Editor of the Cambridge Review of International Affairs (CRIA).

Chair: The Right Honourable Andrew Mitchell, MP Andrew Mitchell has been the Member of Parliament for Sutton Coldfield since 2001. He served as the Minister for Social Security, Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party (1992-93), the Army (Royal Tank Regiment) and was a United Nations Peacekeeper in Cyprus before joining Lazard, the international investment bank. In November 2003 he was appointed as Shadow Minister for Economic Affairs and from September 2004 he was the Shadow Minister for Police. Following the General Election in May 2005, he was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for International Development. He then served as the Secretary of State for International Development from May 2010 – September 2012 and Government Chief Whip from September – October 2012. Andrew was elected as President of the Cambridge Union in 1978 while he was a student at Cambridge. He has returned to Cambridge as the Senior Fellow of the Resilience and Sustainable Development Programme (RSDP) to lead this distinguished lecture series, the Sinews of Sustainable Development.

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