On 1 August 2019, Professor Dawn Chatty gave this lecture at Arup's offices in London titled 'Syria: The Making and Unmaking of a Refuge State'. Dawn's book of the same name was published by Hurst & Co in 2018.
The mass influx of peoples into Syria over the last 150 years, including Circassians, Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews, Armenian, Albanians, Kosovars, created a modern nation of great cultural hybridity. Until recently this was the source of its openness to contemporary waves of forced migrants including Palestinians, Lebanese, and Iraqis. Now with the tables turned Syrians have sought refuge and sanctuary among its neighbouring states. This lecture examines the history of Syria - Bilad-al-Sham – in the late Ottoman Empire and since World War One as it welcomed refugees and other uprooted peoples from across the region. It also draws some provisional conclusions regarding displaced Syrians contemporary welcome in neighbouring states.
The lecture is opened by Suzanna Joy, an Arup Associate. Dawn Chatty is then introduced by Dr Ammar Azzouz, architect at Arup, and an author of ‘A tale of a Syrian City at War: Destruction, Resilience and Memory’.