_____ BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Ibrahim is the founder of the Syrian Legal Development Programme. Ibrahim passed the Bar exams in the United Kingdom and he joined Guernica 37, International justice Chambers in November 2018 as a Barrister.
Within his role at SLDP, in addition to managing and growing the organization, Ibrahim has provided legal expertise to Syrian NGOs, including training that Ibrahim delivered to more than 550 trainees on a range of complex legal matters surrounding forced displacement, torture, UN mechanisms, facilitation of humanitarian aid and other matters. He has trained both inside Syria, near the front lines, and in neighboring countries.
Ibrahim spent almost the entire summer of 2013 in Aleppo, Syria providing SLDP`s training seminars near the frontlines. He continued to visit the war zone to conduct human rights work, with him being there during the April 2017 chemical attack.
Ibrahim has also advocated in Geneva, Brussels, Washington and London on human rights issues relevant to Syria. He received personal invitations from the Heads of States such as Germany and The United Kingdom, and from the UN Secretary General.
Ibrahim has spoken and chaired panels in forums such as Chatham House and Amnesty International, and delivered presentations at UK universities such as UCL, SOAS, Nottingham and Manchester amongst others. He also spoken on TV channels such as the CNN and the BBC.
Outside of SLDP, Ibrahim worked as a legal consultant on Syria related matters for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, The International Bar Association and The Open Society Justice Initiative.
Ibrahim has completed his LLB and LLM (Security and International Law) at the University of Manchester, where he was awarded both the Undergraduate and the Postgraduate Student of the Year. During University, he was the President of the Arab Society and was further elected as National Union of Students Delegate to represent his University.
Ibrahim is fluent in both Arabic and English, with intermediate German.
Zahra holds an LLM in International Law from Leeds University and is currently pursuing a PhD degree as well.
She has been on the Board of Directors of SLDP since its founding and is currently serving as Head of Research. Her main role has been mainly focused on the strategic development of the organization.
Outside of SLDP and until 2019, Zahra was a Senior Researcher and co-founder at the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion since 2011. She specialises in human rights law and specifically on the nexus between forced displacement and citizenship issues, as well as the interlink between discrimination and statelessness. Geographically, her work has focused mainly on rule of law and nationality in the Middle East and Africa region.
Zahra has published work in various journals and books on these issues such as Challenging the Disunity of Statelessness in the Middle East and North Africa, Regional Report on Citizenship and Efforts to prevent statelessness amongst children displaced by conflict in the Middle East and North Africa. She has also led, researcher and authored various reports on human rights issues in the region including Understanding Statelessness in the Syrian Refugee Context and the Challenges of Statelessness in Exile. Moreover, she has worked closely with media outlets to raise awareness on these issues including Aljazeera English, BBC and Syria Direct, and developed the Paperless People podcast.
Since 2010, Zahra has been involved in conducting research studies and providing trainings for various organisations such as UNHCR, WRC, IRC, Boston University, NRC the Open Society Justice Initiative and Amel House of Human Rights. She is also a fellow at the Social Change Initiative, a programme that selects individuals to aid them challenge inequality through their work.
Zahra is fluent in English, Arabic and French.
_____ ADVISORY BOARD
Professor Scobbie teaches Public International Law at the University of Manchester. He was previously the Sir Joseph Hotung Research Professor in Law, Human Rights, and Peace Building in the Middle East at SOAS, University of London, to which he remains affiliated. He studied at the Universities of Edinburgh and Cambridge, and at the Australian National University. His doctoral dissertation examined legal reasoning and the judicial function in the International Court. Professor Scobbie maintains a special interest in international humanitarian law; international adjudication, particularly the role of the International Court of Justice; and in the theory of international law. He is also a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the European Journal of International Law, and an editor of the EJIL: Talk! blog.
Elham Saudi is Director of Lawyers for Justice in Libya. In her role as Director, Elham has worked on fact finding in connection with investigations into alleged human rights violations in Libya. With her team, Elham also worked on Transitional Justice, Impunity and Human Rights, Constitution Building and Legal Reform, and International Advocacy. She has also advised the National Transitional Council in Libya on a number of matters of international law. Elham studied Arabic and Modern Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Oxford, after which she studied law at Nottingham Law School. She then completed an LLM in International Law at the School of Oriental and African Studies in 2011, obtaining a Distinction. Her focus was on international human rights law and international humanitarian law. Elham is fluent in Arabic, English and Spanish.
_____ OUR TEAM
Farah Abou El Sel
Communications and Outreach Manager
Farah holds a Bachelor degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from City University in Lebanon. Driven by a deep belief in civil society’s potent role, Farah started her career as a Program Specialist for The English Access Microscholarship Program in Lebanon, a program sponsored by The U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to provide a significant language learning experience for public school students. For 5 years, Farah dedicated her career to ensuring program students have better education opportunities and are able to seize higher education scholarships through the program.
Within the Syrian context, Farah joined International Relief and Development in Lebanon as a Grants Coordinator, managing a budget of almost 5 Million Dollars, supporting Syrian Civil Society organizations in implementing projects inside Syria. The project aimed at empowering Syrian Civil Society organizations by capacity building, technical assistance and funding opportunities. Farah was entitled of the funding and technical assistance process for almost 2 years.
She then moved to Syrian American Medical Society Foundation serving as a Grants Manager for the Syria Humanitarian Program in Turkey, managing a budget of almost 50 Million Dollars, supporting life saving activities inside Syria. Within her role, Farah managed proposal writing and external representation.
Throughout her tenure, Farah has managed donors’ relations in different capacities making sure that organizational mission and vision as well as messaging are well displayed to the public.
Farah joined SLDP in January 2019 as a Communications and Outreach Manager bringing 8 years of experience in regional civil society into practice. She works closely on monitoring and documenting business-related activities in Syria that may result in human rights violations. She also works on creating communication strategies for the organization as well as managing relations with business and human rights stakeholders.
Farah is fluent in Arabic, English and French, and intermediate in Russian and Turkish.
Human Rights and Business Unit, Program Head
Noor holds a Juris Doctor, cum laude, from The George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Political Science from the Loyola University Chicago.
During her time at George Washington Law, Noor was the President of the Muslim Law Student Association. She also held a leadership position with the International Refugee Assistance Project.
Prior to joining SLDP, Noor completed a legal fellowship with the Public International Law & Policy Group (PILPG) where she served on the Syria Negotiations Support team in Istanbul and Washington D.C.; including being present in Astana to provide negotiations support to members of the Syrian opposition.
She has also completed internships with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Washington D.C. in the Resettlement Unit and Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, where she monitored Moroccan government violations of human rights in the occupied Western Sahara region and conducted research on the illegality of Moroccan exploitation of Western Saharan natural resources under various international legal regimes.
Additionally, She served as a student attorney at the Jacob Burns International Human Rights Law Clinic at George Washington law, where she provided legal counselling to victims of cyber-violence and assisted in drafting cyber-violence training and toolkit aimed at educating high school and college aged youth about remedies and options for accountability for cyber-violence.
Noor joined SLDP in April 2018 as a Program Head for the Human Rights and Business Unit.
Noor is fluent in English and Arabic.
Human Rights and Business Unit, Legal Researcher
Mouhanad Sharabati holds an LLM in International Human Rights Law from The Lund University Law school and The Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian law, Sweden. He is also a holder of a Bachelor of Law from Damascus University, Syria.
Mouhanad practiced law in both Syria and Lebanon between 2007 and 2013 and was a member of the Syrian Bar Association, Damascus branch.
Between 2013 and 2014, Mouhanad worked with Kayany Foundation, a Lebanese non-governmental organization operating educational programs for Syrian refugee children and youth residing in the informal tented settlements in Lebanon. He worked as a Project Manager where he advocated for Children rights amid conflicts and worked hard to guarantee education for Syrian refugee children in Lebanon.
For the past four years, Mouhanad was working with several NGOs focusing on refugees’ rights issues where he gained a sufficient experience in international and European refugee laws.
To broaden his knowledge, Mohanad participated in an advanced course on “European Union Law and Policy on Immigration and Asylum” organized by the University Libre in Brussels in 2017 after he was selected by the Odysseus Network.
Mouhanad joined The Syrian Legal Development Programme in July 2018 as a Legal Researcher with a main focus on Business and Human Rights.
Outside SLDP, Mohanad is part of a Syrian legal team composed of Syrians lawyers and NGOs, established with the assistance of the international bar association’s human rights institute, aiming to ensure justice for victims in Syria, fight impunity and bring individuals responsible for the most atrocious crimes to justice.
Mouhanad is fluent in both Arabic, English and Swedish, with intermediate French.
Human Rights and Business Unit, Legal Researcher
Giorgio holds a Master's degree in law, cum laude, from the University of Milan as well as an LLM with distinction in international law from University College London. He also holds a degree in English law having completed the Graduate Diploma in Law in 2018.
Giogio joined SLDP in June 2017 as a Legal Researcher in the International Legal Support Unit. As part of his work for the unit, he advised Syrian NGOs on several legal issues including the use of prohibited weapons, the recruitment of child soldiers, enforced disappearance, sexual violence, housing and property rights, the targeting of medical personnel, humanitarian relief operations, amnesties, arrest warrants, sanctions, the international legal framework applicable to non-state actors, non-state actors’ courts and the UN mechanisms. In addition, he developed trainings on international humanitarian law and humanitarian principles, forced displacement and the protection of women’s rights in conflict.
Prior to joining SLDP, Giorgio worked for NGOs in the field of immigration and asylum. He also interned at the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.
Giorgio is fluent in Italian and English, with intermediate Spanish.
International Law Support Unit, Head of Unit
Youssef holds a BA in literature, a diploma in education and currently is preparing his LL.M degree in international human rights and humanitarian law.
He joined SLDP as Head of International Law Support Unit in 2019, working closely with Syrian human rights and humanitarian organizations to identify areas for legal support, drafting research papers and providing legal consultations in areas of international law relevant to the Syrian context. He manages a team of Legal Analysts undertaking projects aiming at building the capacity of Syrian human rights, humanitarian and media organizations in international law and strengthening their voice in international advocacy and lobbying.
Prior to joining SLDP, Youssef was the Programs Manager at Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM) and the Director of the Violations Documentation Center (VDC). He also worked as a Senior Policy Advisor at the European Foundation for Democracy. Yousef, himself a Palestinian refugee, has for most of his life - personally and professionally – been involved in working with refugee communities on protection, human rights and integration into host communities. Yousef has experience in the prevention of radicalization and extremism, the role of armed non-State actors in armed conflict and humanitarian law. He has managed related projects on the ground and has done in-depth research and analysis on the issues.
From 2011 to 2013, Yousef coordinated the projects of Geneva Call in Lebanon, and until 2015, he was the organization’s Middle East Program Manager.
He is now based in Berlin and provides legal consultancy. Yousef has volunteered with a number of different humanitarian organizations, including Human Rights Watch.
Yousef is fluent in Arabic and English, and basic in German.
International Law Support Unit, Legal Researcher
Veronica graduated with an LLM, with distinction, in International Human Rights Law and Transitional Justice from the Transitional Justice Institute of the Ulster University, Belfast in 2018. She also holds a BA in Intercultural Communication focused on international law from the University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy.
Veronica joined SLDP in August 2019 as a Legal Researcher in the International Law Support Unit. Within her capacity, Veronica helped in providing Syrian non-governmental organizations with capacity building and technical assistance on issues pertaining to international law and the Syrian conflict, including but not limited to the right to truth, enforced disappearance, international refugee law and more. She has identified opportunities for interventions and engagement of Syrian NGOs with States supportive of transitional justice and accountability in the Syrian context and has provided advocacy, legal support and strategic engagement support to Syrian NGOs within this context. Given her expertise in Transitional Justice, Veronica focuses on ensuring that transitional justice is strategically included in capacity building, legal support and advocacy assistance provided to Syrian NGOs.
Prior to joining SLDP, Veronica interned with the Human Rights and Business Unit of SLDP and the War Reparations Center of the University of Amsterdam. She also served as the main transitional justice researcher for “All Survivors Project”, an NGO focusing on SGBV against men in conflict contexts. Veronica has also served as a pro-bono transitional justice consultant to Syrian NGOs and INGOs working on Syria, conducting transitional justice research and supporting them in devising strategic transitional justice policies on issues of enforced disappearance, death certificates in the context of enforced disappearance, right to truth, forced displacement and more.
Veronica is fluent in Italian and English, with intermediate Arabic.
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