Board of Directors


Mr. Murhaf Jouejati is the Chairman of “The Day After” Association and a member of its executive committee, heading its Security Sector Reform working group. Dr. Jouejati is a professor of Middle East studies at the National Defense University’s Near East South Asia (NESA) Center for Strategic Studies and an adjunct professor of political science and international affairs at the George Washington University (GWU). He is also a scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington, DC.

Previously, Mr. Jouejati served as Director of the Middle East Program at GWU’s Elliott School of International Affairs.  Before assuming that position, Jouejati served as the political adviser to the European Commission delegation in Damascus. Earlier, he was the United Nations Development Program’s (UNDP) National Program Officer in Damascus and later a consultant to the UNDP’s Bureau of Arab States in New York. He also served as an adviser to the Syrian delegation to the Middle East peace talks. Mr. Jouejati holds an MA in Arab area studies from Georgetown University and a Ph.D. in International Relations from the University of Utah.


Mr. Salam Kawakibi is the Deputy Director and Research Director of the Arab Reform Initiative and President of the Initiative for a New Syria. He also serves as an associate researcher at Centro de Estudios y Documentación Internacionales de Barcelona (CIDOB) and as a member of the Consultative Council of Mediterranean Citizens’ Assembly (MCA). Mr. Kawakibi teaches a Master program on Development and Migration at the Paris 1 University. From 2000 to 2006, he served as Director of the Institut Français du Proche Orient (IFPO) in Aleppo, Syria. From 2009 to 2011, he was Principal Researcher at the Faculty of Political Science of the University of Amsterdam.

Mr. Kawakibi has also published numerous scientific essays in edited volumes and specialized reviews in Arabic, English, French, Spanish, and German on topics such as human rights, civil society, migration, and political reform in the Arab world. Mr. Kawakibi served as a member of the Executive Committee of The Day After Project and its Security Sector Reform working group.

 Amr AMr. Amr Al-Azm is an associate professor of Middle East history and anthropology at Shawnee State University in Ohio. He was educated in the United Kingdom, reading Archaeology of Western Asiatics at the University of London, and graduated with a doctoral degree in 1991. He has excavated a number of sites including Tell Hamoukar in Syria and one possibly associated with Ghengis Khan’s final resting place in Mongolia. Mr. Al-Azm served as Director of Scientific and Conservation Laboratories at the General Department of Antiquities and Museums in Syria (1999-2004) and taught at the University of Damascus until 2006. From 2006 to 2009, he was a visiting assistant professor at Brigham Young University.

While working in Syria, Mr. Al-Azm was a firsthand observer and sometimes participant of the reform processes instigated by Bashar Al-Assad. This experience gave him unique insight into how these reforms are enacted and why, more often than not, they fail. Mr. Al-Azm was a member of the Executive Committee of The Day After Project and its Economic Restructuring and Social Policy working group.


Ms. Afra Jalabi is a Montreal-based writer, member of the Syrian National Council, and member of the Executive Committee on the Day After Project. Before the Syrian revolution she was a signatory in the Damascus Declaration. Ms. Jalabi is also a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Law and Religion at Hamline University, and worked as columnist in the Arab Press for last 12 years. She has a B.A in anthropology and political science from McGill University, a master’s degree in journalism from Carleton University and is currently a Ph.D Candidate at Concordia University in Montreal in Religious Studies.

As a frequent lecturer on issue related to Islam and the Middle East, and recently more specifically with a focus on Syria, Ms. Jalabi has appeared in Arab, American and Canadian media including Aljazeera, Orient, CBC, BBC, PBS and CTV.


Mr. Najib Ghadbian is an associate professor of political science and Middle East studies at the University of Arkansas and currently serves as the Syrian Opposition Coalition’s Special Representative to the United States. Studying political science at United Arab Emirates University, he went on to earn a master’s degree from Rutgers University in New Jersey and a doctorate from the City University of New York.

Mr. Ghadbian is a published scholar in both Arabic and English, and has long been active in the Syrian democracy movement, including as a signatory to the Damascus Declaration in 2005 and a co-founder of the Syrian National Council in 2011. 


Ms. Rafif Jouejati is the English-language spokeswoman for the Local Coordinating Committees in Syria and the director of the Foundation to Restore Equality and Education in Syria (FREE-Syria), a nonprofit humanitarian organization focused on women’s empowerment. Prior to dedicating her time to supporting the Syrian revolution, Jouejati worked for twenty-five years in the areas of strategic planning, bid and opportunity development, and business process reengineering, including as the CEO of P3 Solutions, LLC. Her areas of expertise include strategic development, executive coaching and leadership training, and developing targeted communications strategies.

Ms. Jouejati’s clients have included KPMG LLP, BearingPoint (now Deloitte Consulting), Microsoft, and US federal agencies such as the National Weather Service, the Transportation Security Administration, and the Internal Revenue Service. Jouejati served as a member of the Executive Committee of The Day After Project and its working group on Economic and Social Reconstruction. 


Ms. Rime Allaf is a writer and researcher, specializing in Syria and the Middle East. An Associate Fellow of Chatham House (Middle East and North Africa Program) from 2004 to 2012, she is a widely published author of analysis and commentary in international media and a frequent guest on news programs — covering geopolitical, economic and cultural issues in the Arab world.  She continues to brief and advise on regional affairs, and is in the process of writing a book on Syria.

With a background in Political Science, a Bachelor’s in Management and a Master’s in Marketing, Ms. Allaf has provided extensive consulting in research and communication for both the public and the private sectors.  She is fluent in several languages.


Mr. Wael Sawah is a Syrian researcher and activist on issues of civil society in Syria, author of a number of research papers, and coauthor of several books in Arabic, French and English, including “Le Printemps Arab: Un Premier Bilan,” 2012, and “Taking to the Streets: Activism, Uprisings and Democratization in the Arab World”. He is a member of the Annual Middle East Legal Studies Seminar (MELSS, Yale University); Board member of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression, Damascus; and founding member of the Syrian League for Citizenship a founding member of the Arab Rationalists League, Paris. He is also a regular columnist at al Hayat Newspaper in London.

Mr. Sawah has participated in a number of academic and political conferences and written dozens of papers and policy briefs for international and regional institutions. In addition, Mr. Sawah has worked as Editor of The Syrian Observer, Project Director at Syria Justice and Accountability Center, and a Political Analyst at the U.S. Embassy in Damascus.