Wrapping up the second round of peace talks on February 15th, 2014, Algerian negotiator Lakhdar Brahimi issued a formal apology to the Syrian people stating solemnly, "I am very, very sorry, and I apologize to the Syrian people that…we haven't helped them very much." This was the uninspiring conclusion to the second round of talks to end a conflict that has claimed the lives of over 100,000 people and has displaced nearly 9 million from their homes. Fortunately, although the conflict has proven to be inexorable, the Syrian conflict retains its international significance and regional implications pressing national leaders, diplomats, and activists alike towards the search for a solution. Our guest at the Athenaeum, Kenan Rahmani, will focus his talk on the current direction of Syria's humanitarian situation, international and domestic political pressures, and the impact of the Geneva conference. He will also speak to his experience with humanitarian work in Syria and Turkey.
Kenan Rahmani is a Syrian American political and human rights activist. He serves as the Director of Operations and Development for the Syrian American Council, the largest grassroots organization of Syrian-Americans. His parents are from Damascus and he visited Syria regularly during the summers while growing up in Indiana. Since the beginning of the uprising in 2011, Kenan has been supporting the Syrian people and advocating for freedom and democracy. He previously served on the Board of SAC and worked with many civil society groups inside Syria and has made multiple trips to Turkey and inside Northern Syria to deliver humanitarian aid. He is regularly interviewed by the media for commentary regarding efforts to help promote democracy and peace in Syria.
Kenan is currently pursuing a degree in International Law at the University of Notre Dame Law School. He graduated from Purdue University in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science.