Since its launch in 2012, Al-Jumhuriya has worked as an online platform for young Syrian writers. Based in Istanbul, it brings together Syrian writers, journalists and scholars, nurturing a community of Syrians able to conduct research and write about their country’s history, culture and politics, and to start a dialogue between Syrian intellectuals and international academics and writers. It promotes emancipatory knowledge, countering the prejudices of orientalism, elitism or primordial identity. Since 2012, its website has expanded from a small blog to one of the most popular Syria-specialised websites.
The Asfari Foundation-funded Young Writers Fellowship is a comprehensive training programme for eight aspiring Syrian journalists between 21 and 27 years old. It combines e-learning, intensive workshops and individual projects to introduce the skills necessary for responsible, reflective and original reportage. Its thematic focus is Syria and the Middle East, promoting Syrian ‘self-knowledge’ and critical thinking and preparing participants to perform a vital role in any free and just society, balancing the need for objective reliable information and the reality of subjective views and perceptions. This project contributes to a vibrant civil society by promoting informed citizenship, free circulation of knowledge and opinion and vigorous participation in public life.