Debate Cafe on the Conflict in Syria

  • Muhanad and Ahmad, refugees from Syria in school in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley

On the 19th of March 2018, CELL’s Principal Ayla Bonfiglio participated in a Debate Café on ‘The Future of Syria and Syrian Refugees’ at the Dominicanen Bookshop in Maastricht. Drawing upon her research and work, Ayla discussed issues related to refugee return versus non-return, the importance of education for refugee development in countries of asylum, the various roles and responsibilities of countries of asylum and resettlement, as well as the crucial role that education free of divisive stereotypes and discrimination will play in long-term processes of reconstruction and reconciliation in Syria.

The Debate Café strives to be a meeting place for experts, researchers, and students and covers important recent developments in science and society. This event was organized by Universalis, the UNICEF Student Team Maastricht, and Maastricht University's Studium Generale.


Ayla Bonfiglio – Principal, CELL Foundation and Doctoral Fellow, UNU-MERIT and the Maastricht Graduate School of Governance (MGSoG). Expertise: Forced migration, refugee education, education and conflict

Roberta Haar – Associate Professor, University College Maastricht. Expertise: International relations, foreign policy, American foreign policy, transatlantic relations

Ammar Abo Hamida – Medical Doctor; Amar was the first Syrian refugee who obtained a Master's degree at Maastricht University (Healthcare Management, 2017)

Nora Ragab – Doctoral Fellow, UNU-MERIT and MGSoG. Expertise: Syrian diaspora, diaspora mobilisation, durable solutions

Pui-hang Won – Lecturer, Maastricht Graduate School of Governance (MGSoG) and Researcher, UNU-MERIT. Expertise: International political economy, international development, security, and state-building in post-conflict countries


Dave Vliegenthart – Lecturer Liberal Arts, University College Maastricht


Image Credit: Russell Watkins/Department for International Development