Fourth Annual Global Conference

Jusoor is delighted to invite you to attend our 4th Annual Global Conference

Syrians as Global Citizens: Paths towards Success in Europe

Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin

June 4, 2016 | 9 AM – 5 PM

In partnership with DAAD and Freie Universität Berlin



As the Syrian conflict enters its 5th year, thousands of Syrians have left their homes as refugees, with many settling in Europe. Jusoor’s 2016 global conference focuses on higher education, innovative non-formal education projects, career development, and social integration for Syrians in Europe. Our aim is to provide space for sharing and cultivation of ideas — engaging corporations, non-profit organizations, community leaders, and established Syrian communities in Europe to scale successes and mobilize support toward them.

The conference will focus on the following themes:

Higher Education for Syrians in Europe

Communities around the world continue to call for a no-lost-generation of Syrian youth, including access to university studies. We seek to shed light on the status of higher education for Syrians in Europe in general and specifically in Germany as a case study, looking at successes and challenges.

Career Development and Economic Opportunities for Syrians in Europe

Thousands of Syrians have moved to Europe in the past year, including students, young and senior professionals, and previous business owners. The conference aims to shed light on how the European market has enabled this human capital through sharing success stories, challenges, and opportunities.

Social integration and thriving for Syrians in Europe

An astounding number of Syrians have moved to Europe recently as refugees or forced migrants. This conference looks at how to foster and accelerate the creation of healthy relationships between Europe’s current citizens and their future citizens.

Similar to our last three conferences — New York in 2012, London in 2013, and LA in 2015 — we expect this conference to draw over 200 participants from around the world, including Syrian leaders in all fields as well as students. We very much hope you will be able to join us.

Together, we can make a profound difference for Syria’s future. 


Conference Information





Featured Organizations

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Conference Program

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Panel 1: Higher Education for Syrians in Europe: The Example of Germany

It presents Germany as a case study for solving the crisis of higher education for Syrian youth in Europe. The panel shares efforts that have been taken so far by governmental and non-governmental organizations alike, and by academic institutions, and challenges, and successes for thought and action.

Panel 2: Career Development and Economic Opportunities for Syrians in Europe: Overview and Best Practices

This panel sheds light on how the European market has enabled the recently arriving human capital from Syria. The panel specifically looks at potential opportunities capitalizing on skills of the incoming workforce, successful new ventures and models supporting the employment and job training of newly arriving Syrians in Europe piloted by NGOs and the governmental and business sectors, and opportunities for entrepreneurs and building/adapting startups to new markets.

Lightning Talks

We have seen entrepreneurs and organizations around Europe and internationally respond in creative ways to challenges in access to education and work, posed by different aspects of the refugee crisis. A collection of presentations or Lightening Talks – similar to Ted Talks -, highlights some of these successes, ranging from welcoming the newcomers to the host community, to technology solutions, and access to libraries and culture.


Accessing Higher Education

A lot of organizations and institutes globally have stepped up to help Syrian students continue their higher education. However, there continues to be a gap between that goodwill and having it materialize in actual students on campuses. This workshop particularly aims to raise the following points to inspire connection and discussion:

– What are the key obstacles that stand between university-age Syrian students who are currently in Europe and continuing their university education?

– What have been the most successful efforts to fill these gaps? Whether by academic institutions, student groups, or other organizations.

– And can some of these challenges and successes also benefit institutions looking to have Syrian students who are not currently in Europe as well?

– Also, what role are academic institutions playing in enabling young professionals to adjust their skills to match the European market?

Career Development and Labor Market Integration

Thousands of Syrians have moved to Europe in the past year with different professional and educational backgrounds, including students, young and senior professionals, and previous business owners. This workshop particularly aims to raise the following points to inspire connection and discussion:

– How can Syrians coming to Europe be enabled to develop independent businesses with two large markets in mind, the current European locals, and the newly incoming Syrian community?

– What kind of professional training schemes are needed and currently available to help Syrian young and experienced professionals adjust and improve their skills to match the job market in their new countries of residence?

– What are the areas and practices that characterize successful efforts in the area of labor-market integration, which have been beneficial for both the host community and the newly arriving refugees? And what are the lessons that could be learned from them?

– Finally, have there been different experiences in the areas of farming and vocational training? What drives success there.

Social Integration

This conference looks at how to foster and accelerate the creation of healthy relationships between the European citizens and resettled Syrians in Europe. This workshop particularly aims to raise the following points to inspire connection and discussion:

– What are the barriers to social integration, and how can they be resolved? What are the key areas that would achieve the most impact?

– What are some activities and programs that have been successful and can be implemented at scale? Have any been more successful for different age groups?

– What can the Syrian diaspora learn from other European-based minorities that have been successful in preserving their cultural identities, while integrating successfully with their host communities? And lessons could be learned from successful initiatives in this area coming from the side from the host communities?


Dr. Anita Renusch - Employment Agency Berlin Süd; Economic Opportunities Panel

Dr. Anita Renusch is the Head of the Employment Agency Berlin Süd. She is responsible for the labor market integration of asylum seekers and their job placement. In 2015, she was in charge of the organizational structure and content for Asylum Seekers in Berlin and coordinating activities across teams for initial interviews conducted directly on the premises of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. Since 2015, Renusch has been volunteering at the Federal Employment Agency as well as at the project Akinda for unaccompanied minors.

Dr. Bashar Diar Bakerly - DAAD Alumni; Higher Education Panel


Dr. Bashar Diar Bakerly is currently working as senior specialist in the field of flame retardant additives and specialty materials in Bergheim. Originally from Aleppo, Syria, he studied chemistry at the Aleppo University and the University of Bayreuth from 2002-2013. He holds a PhD in the field of inorganic chemistry. During his studies he used to work as a tutor in Syria and Germany. He is Alumni of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) as well as of the Elite Network of Bavaria. Dr. Bakerly volunteers as as the Project Manager for Syria at the Kriegskindernothilfe humanitarian organization.

Christian Müller - DAAD; Welcome Address Speaker


Christian Müller directs the Department of Strategy at the German Academic Exchange Services (DAAD), where he has been working since January 2002. He served at DAAD Brazil from 2009 to 2014, heading the DAAD branch office in Rio de Janeiro. Simultaneously, he was President of the Board of the German Center for Science and Innovation (DWIH), São Paulo. Prior to this appointment, he was head of the Division “Communication and Marketing” at the DAAD in Bonn. In this function, he was responsible for the secretariat of the consortium GATE-Germany and for the secretariat of the joint initiative “International Marketing for Education and Research”. In former years, he worked as university lecturer for German Language and Literature in Portugal (Aveiro) and Brazil (Campinas, Rio de Janeiro) as well as in the training of experts in development cooperation (German Foundation for International Development). His academic background is in Social Sciences and German Studies at the Universities of Göttingen and Bonn.

Diana Puyo - Libraries without Borders; Lightning Talk Speaker


Ideas Box is a comprehensive portable media centre, with an in-built power source. Powerful, standardized, customizable, and easy to use. A project of Libraries Without Borders, the Ideas Box is a major innovation for improving access to information and culture for all, even in crisis situations.

Diana has been leading Libraries Without Borders’ operations since 2014, driving the program and project implementation teams and the global coordination of LWB’s operational strategies regarding the deployment of Ideas Box. With previous experience in profit, non-profit, and international organizations, Diana strives to identify cross cutting and creative approaches with her teams to implement innovative operations addressing educational challenges globally. 

Edgar Kaade - LfS Scholar; Higher Education Panel


Edgar Kaade graduated with a bachelor degree as biotechnical engineer from the Aleppo University in 2014. Currently he is enrolled in a Master degree program (Biomedical Science) at the Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences. Since April 2015 he holds a scholarship within the program “Leadership for Syria” (LfS), which aims to support the academic qualification and advancement of young Syrian scholars in Germany. Before Edgar Kaade got the funding within the LfS-Program, he was Erasmus Mundus scholarship holder for one semester. He worked as a volunteer with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and UNHCR in Syria. Since February 2016 he got involved with the German Red Cross.

Esther Saoub - Journalist; Higher Education Panel


Esther Saoub is a journalist reporting for German Public TV (ARD) and ARTE TV. She is focused on foreign and European affairs and the Middle East. She has formerly worked as foreign correspondent for ARD-German Public Radio in Cairo, Egypt. Before her training as a TV and radio journalist she studied Comparative Literature, Islamic and Jewish Thoughts at Freie Universität Berlin. She also studied Arabic in Damascus, Syria, with a scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

Dr. Florian Kohstall - Freie Universität Berlin; Higher Education Panel


Dr. Florian Kohstall is the head of Freie Universität Berlin Cairo Office. Since October 2015 he is also the Coordinator of Welcome@FUBerlin, a programme to facilitate migrants the access to the university. Kohstall holds a Ph.D. from Freie Universität Berlin and Institut d’Études Politiques d’Aix-en-Provence on Higher Education and Reform Policies in Egypt and Morocco. Prior to joining FU Berlin, he was a research fellow at the French research center CEDEJ. He has been teaching political science in Aix-en-Provence, Lyon and Cairo. He researched and published on political elections, university reform, political change and the role of international donor organizations in the Middle East and North Africa MENA. Since 2013 Dr. Kohstall is an elected member of the Arab German Young Academy AGYA.

Helena Barroco - Global Platform for Syrian Students; Lightning Talk Speaker

The Global Platform for Syrian Students is an emergency scholarship program launched by former President of Portugal, Jorge Sampaio, to support Syrian students struck by the conflict to finalize their university degrees. Its mission includes international advocacy for prioritizing higher education in emergency response.

Helena Barroco is a Portuguese Diplomat. For the past years, she has mainly worked on UN issues as diplomatic adviser to former President of Portugal, Jorge Sampaio, namely on the UN Alliance of Civilizations. She is now focused on the Global Platform for Syrian Students as the Director of the organization.

Hannibal Saad - Syrian Music Lives; Lightning Talk Speaker

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Syrian Music Lives aims to preserve Syrian music despite the current circumstances of the country. It does so through creating a permanent link between Syrian musicians and presenting their latest news, activities, and creative work through forum participations, concerts, release of music albums, and publishing articles and interviews. The organization’s project ‘Global Week for Syria’ recently presented hundreds of Syrian and international artists through performances in 30+ cities around the world.

Hannibal Saad is the director of Syrian Music Lives. A music manager and festival artistic director by trade, he created and ran two renowned international music festivals and music-centered conferences in Syria in multiple editions prior to the crisis. He is passionate about creating international cross-over projects between the Arab world and the rest of the world.

Isaac Kwamy - NetHope; Lightning Talk Speaker

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NetHope enables cross-sector collaboration between nonprofits and innovative companies to develop better programs, mitigate risks, and scale benefits for greater impact in areas of crisis, capitalizing on information technology.

As the Director of Global Programs, Disaster Preparedness, and Response at NetHope, Isaac leads NetHope’s Humanitarian Operations Programs, including the Emergency Response Working Group. Prior to that, he worked for World Vision International, leading the first NGOs Emergency Telecommunication Cluster Coordinator, a model that has now been adopted as standard for all large scale emergency response. Isaac is an expert on the use and adoption of technologies to enable relief operations over a vast number of contexts. 

Jeroen van Marle - Secret Escapes; Economic Opportunities Panel


Jeroen van Marle is a travel writer and editor based in Berlin. He’s the Dutch editor for Secret Escapes, an international leisure, travel, and tourism company that provides holiday solutions and advice to a network of 25+ million members worldwide. At the Berlin office of Secret Escapes, Jeroen coordinates a team of 10-15 enthusiastic volunteers who help Syrian newcomers write their first German-language CVs and register them on a job search platform. Several of these Syrians have found jobs or internships, and one candidate was employed at the Secret Escapes office for several months as an office assistant, which was a good experience for all involved.

Karl Milos Liebich - Workeer; Economic Opportunities Panel


Karl Milos Liebich holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Engineering from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany and is currently a Project Manager/Business Developer at Workeer, in charge of Brand Establishment, Financial Planning, and Coordinating Volunteers.

Workeer is the first training and job market in Germany that is specifically aimed at refugees. Through this platform a suitable environment is created for businesses to meet job seekers, where numerous job opportunities in different industries and locations in Germany are posted alongside employers’ and applicant profiles. The platform strives to facilitate simple and uncomplicated exchange between refugees and employers.

Max Klasen - Network of Companies to Integrate Refugees; Economic Opportunities Panel


Max Klasen has worked in the field of career guidance since 2011. From 2011 until mid 2013 he worked at the county business development agency pro Wirtschaft GT and from mid 2013 until end of 2014 at the regional development agency OstWestfalenLippe GmbH. Before beginning as project officer with the Network of Companies to Integrate Refugees at the DIHK Service GmbH he was a development worker in Kabul with the German development agency Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH. Max is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Sustainable Development from Technische Universität Kaiserslautern and a Master’s in History, Philosophy, and Sociology of Science from Universität Bielefeld.

Maya Alkateb-Chami - Jusoor; Master of Ceremonies


Maya Alkateb-Chami is the Director of Jusoor, a Syrian-expatriates-based organization working on helping Syria through education. She previously co-founded and led the United World Colleges’ Syrian scholarship program, with $2.5+ million in awarded scholarships. Maya served as a consultant and trainer in the areas of NGO capacity-building and youth engagement, including for UNRWA and the Maastricht School of Management. From 2009-2012, she managed Al Makan Art Association, designing and implementing community-arts programs across Syria. Recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship, Maya’s MSc. research at Indiana University Bloomington focused on youth empowerment through the arts. She holds a BA in Political Science from Damascus University and sits on the U.S. National Art Education Association review committee of educational resources focusing on art and social theory. She is the author of Syrian Silk: Portrait of a Living Cultural Heritage.

Monis Bukhari - Syrisches Haus; Lightning Talk Speaker


Monis Bukhari is a visual artist, journalist, and blogger. He has studied, practiced, taught, and written about intentional networking and cultivating powerful connections and business referrals for more than 15 years. As a photographer and filmmaker by training, Monis is affiliated with Foto Community Deutschland, Charta der Vielfalt, re:publica, NDI, IWPR, RSF, WDR, SWR, and DW. He fulfills his passion to inspire motivated people to live, work, and connect through the Syrisches Haus.

The Syrisches Haus focuses on networking, organizing, supporting, and representing the interests of the Syrian Community in Germany. It organizes events that support integration within the German society, such as artistic, music, sport, and cooking activities, plus educational workshops in collaboration with the Migration HUB Network. Syrisches Haus (The Syrian House) also facilitates and supports campaigns to support integration and launch issues into the political discussion of the German society and international community. These include “Danke Deutschland,” “Why not Syria,” and “Recht auf Uni.”

Mouaz Al Qudsi - Refugees on Rails; Economic Opportunities Panel


Mouaz Al Qudsi is a Berlin-based back-end Software Engineer. He is currently studying Computer Science at the Technical University of Berlin, after studying in Damascus University. He is one of the Co-Founders of Refugees on Rails, which offers refugees an opportunity to enrich Europe’s culture and empower its economy, by helping them build and expand their qualification as software developers and providing them with skills that improve their chances on the labour market. With the help of volunteer-based organizations, Refugees on Rails allocates donated laptops to refugees and provides them with high quality educational resources, which enable them to learn programming step by step by following clear instructions. IT students and professionals accompany and facilitate the learning process as mentors.

Dr. Mouhannad Malek - Syrian Researchers; Lightning Talk Speaker


Dr. Mouhannad Malek holds a Ph.D. in Cellular Biology and Oncology from Lyon University and works as a scientist at the Cambridge University-affiliated Babraham Institute in the UK. He founded the Syrian Researchers initiative in 2012 and leads it today. In 2014, he created CAMSCREEN LTD, a DNA specialised company that takes advantage of the latest scientific studies to make out of science a tool for better understanding of the human body, preventing diseases and offering solutions to improve health. Starting in 2015, Dr. Malek started to collaborate with the European Commission on the Science4Refugees program, which aims to help integrate refugees in European societies through Science. He dreams of making out of science a base on which a new dynamic could be built in the Middle East.

The Syrian Researchers initiative aims to raise awareness of science in the Arab world. With a team of more than 450 volunteers who identify, translate, and communicate scientific articles through different media, its online platform is the number one Arabic scientific website in the world in terms of visits and content, with over 1.8 million followers on different social media, and reaching over 2 millions Arabic speakers per week around the world.

Prof. Dr. Peter-André Alt - Freie Universität Berlin; Welcome Address Speaker


Prof. Alt has been President of Freie Universität Berlin since 2010 and was re-elected in 2014. He is also the Director of the Dahlem Research School since 2008, President of the German Schiller Society, and Chairperson of German U15 since 2014. From 2007 to 2010 Prof. Alt was a member of the Academic Senate of Freie Universität Berlin and Spokesperson of the Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School of Literary Studies, for which Freie Universität Berlin raised funding in the German Excellence competition for universities. He has been a full professor of modern German literature since 1995, and from 2007 to 2009, he served as Dean of the Department of Philosophy and Humanities at Freie Universität Berlin. Prof. Alt has published numerous books on German literature of the 17th, 18th, and 20th centuries. The city of Marbach awarded him its Schiller Prize in 2005 in recognition of his two-volume biography of Schiller.

Rania Succar - Jusoor; Welcome Address Speaker


Rania Succar is a Co-Founder and Board Member of Jusoor. She recently joined Intuit to build and grow the QuickBooks Financing business. Prior to that, she oversaw product commercialization and go-to-market strategy for YouTube’s multi-billion dollar advertising business in North America, and consulted at McKinsey & Company, where she advised technology, telecom, and banking clients on growth strategies in North America and the Middle East. Rania co-founded the Harvard Arab Alumni Association in 2001 and served as President in 2008. She received an MBA from the Harvard Business School, an MPA in International Development from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and an AB in economics from Harvard College.

Salman Shaikh - The Shaikh Group, #WeCare; Keynote Speaker

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Salman Shaikh is the Founder and CEO of The Shaikh Group,  a political consultancy established to facilitate dialogue and conflict resolution in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, including Syria. Such dialogues seek to advance practical initiatives that promote peace, tolerance, mutual security, and shared economic prosperity. Before establishing TSG, Shaikh was the Director of the Brookings Doha Centre from 2011 – 2015 where his areas of research included Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and the Gulf states. Shaikh worked with the United Nations for nearly a decade, including as Special Assistant to the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (2000-3); Special Assistant for the Middle East and Asia in the Office of the UN Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs (2003-2006); and as Political Adviser to the UN Secretary-General’s Personal Representative for Lebanon (2006-7). Shaikh also served as the Director for Policy and Research in the private office of HH Sheikha Mozah al-Missned (2007-9).

Vincent Zimmer - Kiron; Lightning Talk Speaker


Vincent Zimmer is the Managing Director and Co-Founder of Kiron University, a social startup whose mission is to eliminate barriers for refugees to access higher education by charging no tuition fee and allowing enrolment based on performance.

As a serial entrepreneur, he previously co-founded 5 international startups from Shanghai to Sao Paulo across diverse sectors including healthcare and higher education, in addition to working as a consultant for the evaluation of EU programs. Vincent is a scholar of the Friedrich-Naumann Foundation and of the social impact Lab Berlin, a fellow of the Ludwig Erhard Foundation, and was awarded several prizes for social impact by the AKB-foundation. He was selected as a responsible leader of the BMW Foundation and was listed in Forbes 30 under 30 in 2015. Vincent holds a Master in International Economics from Göttingen University and in Public Policy from London School of Economics, and is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Göttingen University.

Vinzenz Himmighofen - SINGA; Lightning Talk Speaker


SINGA’s mission is to create a collaborative environment in which newcomers and locals connect around common projects and ideas. Thereby, SINGA strengthens local capabilities to include new talents and positively changes the way they are viewed by their host societies. The organization also operates in France, Belgium, Canada, and Australia and has won several awards for its social innovations.

Vinzenz Himmighofen is Co-Founder of SINGA Deutschland. He is a graduate of the Mercator Fellowship on International Affairs and currently Fellow to the Council of Europe’s Civic Roundtable. Vinzenz earned his degrees in Political Science and Islamic Studies from Heidelberg University and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London. Within SINGA, one of his main areas of work is to run a professional mentoring program that brings together local and newly arrived colleagues.



Last summer, Germany opened its doors to more than a million refugees, most of whom came from Syria and Iraq. As a European and world leader in responding to the refugee crisis, Germany has accumulated substantial experience in responding to the needs of the newcomers as well as setting them up for success. Berlin has set an example in the European Union for helping refugees with multiple levels of involvement at municipal, communal, and business levels, and is therefore the city of choice for our 2016 conference. 


Our 2016 Jusoor Conference will be held at Freie Universität Berlin (Free University of Berlin), which is one of the most prominent universities in Germany. Founded in West Berlin during the Cold War and standing for an education free from political influence, Freie Universität Berlin, has played a crucial role in many student-led social movements in Germany.

The Henry Ford Building, which will house us during the conferenceHenry-Ford-Bau_Garystra__e_35_550, was erected only a few years after the establishment of the university and was one of the first buildings devoted to scholarship to be constructed in Berlin after WWII.

The conference will take place at:
Henry Ford Building
Freie Universität Berlin
Garystraße 35
14195 Berlin-Dahlem



Jusoor has reserved blocks of rooms for two nights (June 3 and 4, 2016) for those attending our conference in the hotels listed below:

Hotel Steglitz International
– A limited number of single and double rooms are available for reservation up to May 6th. The guests can reserve by contacting +49 (0)30 79005-521 or and using the code “JUSOOR2016.” To reserve online login to the “room allotments” section on the website using the code above before making your reservation. The room rate per person is 80 Euros for a single room and 150 Euros for a double room.

Ibis Budget Hotel Berlin City Potsdamer Platz
– a limited number of single rooms are available till May 6th. Guests can make bookings by contacting +49 (0)30 2576-770 or and using the keyword “JUSOOR2016.” The room rate per night and per person is 66.50 Euros. 

Sheraton Berlin Grand Hotel Esplanande
– A limited number of single rooms are available. Callers should state the keyword “JUSOOR2016” when making reservations, or book online here. The room rate per night per person is 159 Euros.

Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin
– A limited number of single and double deluxe rooms are available for reservation by calling the hotel at +49 (0)30 22610 and using the reference “JUSOOR GALA DINNER” to get the special room price. The room rates are 295 Euros per night for a single room and 325 Euros for a double room.


The address of the conference venue is:

Freie Universität Berlin

Henry Ford Building

Garystraße 35

14195 Berlin-Dahlem

It can be easily accessed by the U Bahn, line U3, Thielplatz station.




Charity Dinner Information



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