PARIS (March 2, 2023) – With deepest sorrow and sadness, the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM) mourns the late Dr. Bassma Kodmani, who passed away today, Thursday, in the French capital Paris, after a struggle with illness.
Feeling a sense of belonging to the Arab region, Dr. Bassma Kodmani was a human rights activist committed to championing human rights in Syria and the Arab region. For seven years, Kodmani led the Middle East and North Africa Governance and International Cooperation Program at the Ford Foundation in Egypt. She then founded the Arab Reform Initiative (ARI) in 2004, a think tank made up of a number of independent Arab research and policy institutes becoming a resource for exclusive knowledge on governments and societies in the region and promoting democracy. Her work earned her the 2011 Raymond George Award for Innovative Philanthropy for ARI’s role in promoting democracy in the Arab Spring context. Kodmani was also a member of the Board of the Euro-Mediterranean Foundation of Support to Human Rights Defenders (EMHRF), which is an independent regional foundation led by human rights defenders and experts in the affairs of the Arab region and acting for local human rights defenders, groups and NGOs from the region.
Kodmani is considered one of the most prominent women in the feminist movement in Syria, as she dedicated her efforts to protecting women’s rights in the country. She was one of the founding members of the Syrian Feminist Political Movement, which is a network of Syrian feminist politicians to empower and strengthen the role of Syrian women, especially in the field of political work and human rights. She is the founder of several initiatives including the Legal Forum for Syria, the We Are All Syria initiative aiming to connect the Syrian diaspora, and a founding member of the Syria Resources Group.
With her passing, Kodmani leaves a mark on the map of Syrian civil work and an immense academic and knowledge legacy for Syrian activists and future generations who share her deep belief in a better future for Syria based on the principles of freedom, justice, equality and, human rights. SCM extends its sincere condolences and deepest sympathy to her family, praying they find peace and comfort during this time of mourning. May she rest in peace.