Watch a short video about Peacemaker in Action, Hind Kabawat’s work in Syria and then scroll down to read about her life and work.
Until the current civil war in Syria, most people knew Hind Aboud Kabawat as an international consultant who divided her time between Damascus and Toronto. However, even before the war, Hind became involved in different citizen diplomacy and educational initiatives to spur positive change in Syrian society. In addition to her legal practice in Toronto, Hind serves as an adviser to many national and international firms and organizations, including the World Bank, the Syrian Public Relations Association, and the Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University, where she is a senior research associate in Public Diplomacy.
Growing up as a Christian in Syria, Hind was surrounded by the rich multi-religious history of the region. In her peacemaking work as an adult, she draws upon religious leaders to help change attitudes, reverse prejudice and work toward conflict analysis and reconciliation in Syria and throughout the Middle East.
Hind’s early career was as an International Consul in a Toronto law firm, where she lived a hectic life similar to many professional women, dividing her time between her law practice and raising two children. But by 1999, she came to believe that there was more for her to do in the world – more beyond the business of law and her family. Hind returned to school to study Conflict Resolution at the University of Toronto and International Relations at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
In just a few years, Hind quickly established herself as an important figure promoting dialogue among various sectors within Syria and throughout the Middle East. As an international advisor and attorney, as well as an educator and intellectual, she leads public diplomacy efforts that encourage interfaith tolerance and cooperation, modernization, reform and educational innovations in conflict resolution and diplomacy education.
Hind’s first-hand knowledge of her country allows her to recognize Syria as a once very tolerant society surrounded by countries that are suffering from deep divisions, war and injustice. In response, Hind publicly cultivated local dialogue and respectful debate among Sunnis, Shias, Christians and Jews across the Middle East. Hind’s peacemaking ideology still ties together various traditions, messages and teachings from Islam, Christianity and Judaism, creating a multi-faceted approach to Middle East peace initiatives.
Hind is firmly rooted in grassroots movements and society in Syria and surrounding refugee camps in Turkey and Jordan. Motivating dialogue and conflict resolution skills from the ground up, Hind remains dedicated to building a peaceful Syria. She is also connected with international and academic institutions that give her opportunities to promote change within society. Her latest projects involve trainings for peace activists in refugee camps surrounding Syria. Other past projects include opening a dialogue among Middle Eastern women and Western women from all religions through roundtable discussions on interfaith peace building.
Hind is currently on staff at George Mason University’s Center for World Religions Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution as a Senior Research Analyst and Expert in Conflict Resolution. She continues to lead projects and initiatives in Syria’s surrounding countries, such as Turkey and Jordan, and has with fellow Peacemakers in Action on different Interventions.
Read about Hind’s plans for a 2016 intervention, to train Syrian women in peacebuilding
Hind’s blog: www.hindkabawat.com
Hind’s new project Tight Knit Syria: http://tightknitsyria.com
Some of Hind’s articles:
Women of Syria Tell The Real Story – Huffington Post
From Green to Black: What Happens to a Revolution Without Support – Huffington Post
Children of Syria – Huffington Post
A Place Where Syrians All Get Along – National Post
Syria’s Christian Conundrum – CNN World