Mohammad Abu Hajar


University of Kassel (UKS, Germany)

Research Cluster


PhD Project Title

Civic activism in post-2011 Syria and the role of NGOs


In March 2011, people in many different cities of Syria took to the streets demanding freedom and, political pluralism, ending the monopoly of Ba’ath Party and ousting emergency laws (Ismaiel, 2011). As the demands became more profound including ousting the president Assad and his regime, the spontaneous movement organized itself and within the uprising, new spaces for the articulation of the country’s oppressed social movements emerged.

With this emergence, different non-governmental organizations fostered their attempt to connect to the rising infant movements. While until 2011, international developmental organizations working in Syria found themselves working on a void, the uprising creates spaces and gaps that shifted the country to become one of the most attractive markets of aids sponsored by the international aid sector and non-governmental organizations.

While in 2011 the work of these organizations aimed mainly to direct support of democratic struggle and providing equipment and tools needed by activists in their non-violent resistance activism such as satellite internet, Cameras, educational workshops on peaceful resistance methods. Later towards the middle of 2012, their role shifted to focus more of the introduction of categories within the postcolonial narrative of “technical progression”. Categories as capacities building, good governance, peace building, urban planning, education, empowerment –after taking the power out of empowerment (Baltiwala,2007)- and good governance replaced the initial interest in non-violent resistance and peaceful transition towards democracy.

Many scholars pointed out that this form of NGO’s interventions led to the professionalization and depoliticization of grassroots movements , the aim of this research is to examine the validity of this argument in the Syrian context and to further investigate the role of international NGOs in their Syrian intervention.


Educational Background

  • 2014: Masters in advanced economy, Sapienza university of Rome, Italy, with a thesis researching the economic effect of immigration on host economies
  • 2012: Bachelor in Economics, Hashemite University, Jordan, Majoring in advanced economy

Professional Experience

  • June 2016 - March 2018: Project Manager for the Syrian-German initiative “Adopt a Revolution”, Berlin, Germany

  • June 2012 - March 2016: Editor for political office, Baladna Radio, Syria and remotely from Rome and Berlin

  • June 2009 - September 2010: Accountant, Almansour Trading company, Tartous, Syria.

Social / Political Activities

  • 2005-2011: Member of Kassioun “Syrian communist party"

  • 2009-2011: Elected member in the Syrian national committee of communists reunification

  • 2011-2014: Co-founder of Free People of Tartous coordination committee.

  • 2012-2014:  Member of the revolutionary bureau of Local Coordination Committees in Syria.

  • 2015-2018: Co-founder of Syrian Nushata’a in Berlin network

  • 2008-Present: Founder and producer of Mazzaj Music Band, Syria.

  • 2016-Present: Founder of Auslanderbehörde Music Band, Berlin


  • 2010: Philadelphia university theatre festival: Best supporting actor.
  • 2012: Erasmus Mundus Master programme
  • 2019: Rosa-Luxemburg foundation: Full Ph.D. programme