Syria is in its fourth year of a crisis that often seems without end, 6.5 million people in Syria are internally displaced, more than 3 million Syrian refugees in the region and at least 192,000 have been killed. Both Anders Hastrup and Natacha John have been in Syria to watch that tragedy unfold.

In his talk, PhD and former Director of the Danish Institute in Damascus, Anders Hastrup, will shed light on how Syria looked at the beginning of the revolution, in March 2011. The talk focuses on the political climate in the country until the beginning of the revolution and will discuss the factors that made a peaceful revolution turn into one of the worst and potentially longest lasting civil wars in the history of the modern Middle East.

Natacha John will discuss the evolution of the crisis in Syria from the perspective of a humanitarian worker. She will an overview of how working conditions changed in the three and a half years and what challenges were faced in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable and with a special light on the political dynamics on work in Syria.


Date: Thursday 23 October 2014

Venue: Council Room

Hour: 12:15 to 1:15pm



Anders Hastrup holds a PhD in anthropology and Middle East Studies and was the director of the Danish Institute in Damascus from 2010 -2012, until he was expelled from the country by the Assad regime, the first Danish diplomat to be officially PNG’ed from a country since the beginning of the Cold War.

Natacha John holds an LLM in International Human Rights Law and has been called to practice at the Bar of England and Wales. She has recently arrived from Syria where she spent 3.5 years in Syria working for UNHCR. Previous experience includes work as a lawyer in the European Court of Human Rights and many years representing the most vulnerable refugees in the Tribunals of England and Wales.