Connection, Resilience & Capacity Building
The Cara Syria Programme is located first and foremost within a research framework, providing the most effective vehicle through which to meet the Programme’s overall aim. The Cara partnering model facilitates professional connection and collaboration, not just with colleagues from the wider regional and international academic communities but, as importantly, across Syrian colleagues, mitigating professional isolation, supporting the development of discipline clusters, and connections that build resilience and a resource on which to draw in the immediate and the longer-term, whatever the future holds.
Supporting Contribution to the Future of Syria
The Cara Syria Programme responds not only to the individual needs of academics trying to sustain themselves professionally with disadvantaged profiles in a disadvantaging environment, but also to a collective need that is very much in evidence. The research strands play a critical role in responding to the need to contribute to, and be part of, the future of Syria, potentially generating solutions to the societal and infrastructural challenges it faces, at the heart of which the desire for a modernised outward facing, autonomous, and internationally connected higher-education sector.
Brokering & Facilitation: An Institutional Umbrella
The Cara Syria Programme not only plays an important brokering and facilitation role, but also provides an institutional umbrella for those who have none, without which they would be excluded from paid opportunities as research team members in third-party funded research.
Supporting Syrian-led HE Initiatives: Local Knowledge, Expertise & Networks
Group dynamics and discipline clusters have developed over time. One such example is the Syrian Academic Expertise (SAE) a group of Syrian academics and agricultural technicians who, conscious of their vital role in mitigating the impact of the crisis and climate change on food security in Syria and, as educators, in the task of rebuilding Syria’s agriculture expertise. They came together as an informal grouping under the leadership of one of their number who was able to establish international connections through the Syria Programme, which facilitated his involvement in a third-party funded piece of research ‘Syrian Food Futures’ (SFF), led by the University of Edinburgh in partnership with the Cara Syria Programme. SAE was incorporated as a Turkish NGO in 2020 and is now a direct University of Edinburgh partner in SFF spin-off research.
Visibility & Targeted Dissemination
The publication of research outputs in peer-reviewed journals and the Programme Briefing Paper Series are central to enhanced visibility and building international academic profiles. The latter is part of a targeted dissemination strategy aimed at relevant organisations and their policymakers and practitioners, to highlight the importance of local expertise, knowledge and networks.
Monitoring & Independent Evaluation
The Programme is subject to continuous monitoring, central to which are consultation with participants to allow review and adjustment of underlying assumptions, and amendments to ensure the Programme’s continued relevance and effectiveness. Previous independent evaluation reports are available here.See reports