The role of universities in early recovery programmes in northwest Syria: The case of al-Sham University

Universities play a pivotal role in the development process of countries. In times of stability, universities push for growth in productivity and prosperity through their research and innovations, providing the labour market with skilled graduates. However, in times of instability the development process is halted, impacting on all aspect of life, i.e., economic, social, political, and human, including the traditional role of universities. Twelve years of the Syrian conflict, and resulting mass internal displacement, has made the northwest the most densely populated and economically challenged of regions. Early recovery programmes in the region face numerous constraints, but also increasing opportunities following both an easing of US sanctions for the area and of border crossings. The success of early recovery programmes depends on both internal and external factors, with local influencers, central to which universities, having a pivotal role, in the development of human resources and promotion of values aligned with early recovery. Although the important role of universities in promoting early recovery has been highlighted in previous studies, these have focused on government-run universities or universities in government-controlled areas. This study will focus on the role of universities in early-recovery in a non-government-controlled area. 

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