Tuesday, December 5, 2017 from 6:00 PM to 7:45 PM EST
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The Colony Palm Beach Pavilion Room 
155 Hammon Avenue
Palm Beach, FL 33480

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Celeste Simon 
World Affairs Council of Palm Beach 

Syria, the Emergence of a New Middle East and the New Cold War 


Tuesday, December 5, 2017 
The Colony Palm Beach Pavilion Room

155 Hammon Avenue
Palm Beach, Florida  33480
6:00 p.m. – 7:45 p.m.

Ribal Al Assad will discuss his hope for the future of his homeland, Syria

Speaker Profile:  

Ribal Al Assad is an international campaigner for democracy, freedom and human rights. He is the son of Rifaat al-Assad  He is  the first cousin to and lifelong opponent of Bashar Al-Assad. Ribal is the Founder and Director of the Organisation for Democracy and Freedom in Syria (ODFS) and  Chairman and Founder of The Iman Foundation which seeks to promote inter-religious and cultural dialogue and to challenge extremism. Ribal  was exiled from Syria as a child by the government and has since worked for  a peaceful transition to freedom, democracy and human rights in his country., Ribal Al Assad has publicly criticized bodies including the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah, Al-Nusra, ISIS, Hamas and the government of Iran. Ribal  has several charitable and business interests and speaks Arabic, French, Spanish and English fluently.  His mother, an optometrist, ran a free clinic for the poor in Damascus. His father, Dr Rifaat al-Assad, was Head of Higher Education, a senior military figure and nominal vice-President between 1984 and 1998, and the younger brother of the late President Hafez Al-Assad. As a child, Ribal was surrounded by democratic influences. His father founded Al-Fursan, the first and only Arab Magazine in the Middle East promoting Democracy and Freedom. His father also promoted education (building the Universities of Lattakia and Homs and extending the University of Aleppo) and the advancement of women in military and civilian society.Ribal left Syria in 1984 at the age of 9 following a rift between his father and his uncle which began in the 1970s leading to a military standoff and a split in the Baath party. Ribal and his family then moved to Paris, where he continued to live until the age of 16.  He attended High School in New York and Houston,  and University in Boston. Despite leaving Syria in 1984, Ribal al-Assad continued to be under the threat of violence, with assassination attempts occurring in 1994, 1998 and 1999. During the period 1992-1997, in which these attacks occurred, Ribal al-Assad did not permanently reside in Syria, but routinely returned home during the Christmas Holiday to visit his father, who was not permitted to leave the country. From 1997-9, he remained in Syria, continuing charitable work that had been started by his father. The various attacks on Ribal’s person, property and friends clearly influenced his antipathy towards the government and the political system that allowed it.    


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is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization

The Council is non-partisan and the speakers' views do not necessarily reflect our own. We welcome the opportunity to be a platform where major global issues can be discussed in an atmosphere of mutual respect.