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Ammar Abdulhamid
عمار عبد الحميد
Abdulhamid at FDD
Born May 30, 1966(1966-05-30) (age 56)
Damascus, Syria
Alma mater University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point
Occupation Author, Activist and thinker
Spouse(s) Khawla Yusuf
Children Oula (Twitter) and Mouhanad (Twitter)
Syrian Revolution Digest

Ammar Abdulhamid (Arabic عمار عبد الحميد; born May 30, 1966) is a Syrian-born author, human rights activist, dissident, co-founder and president of the Tharwa Foundation. Ammar was featured in the Arabic version of Newsweek Magazine as one of 43 people making a difference in the Arab world in May 2005.[1] Abdulhamid is also featured in the Freedom Collection [2] which is a repository documenting the continued struggle for human freedom and liberty around the world and sponsored by the George W. Bush Institute at the George W. Bush Presidential Center.


Early life

Abdulhamid was born on May 30, 1966, to Syrian actress Muna Wassef and the late Syrian filmmaker Muhammad Shahin in Damascus, Syria.

He spent approximately eight years in the United States (1986–1994), studying astronomy and history. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point in 1992 with a Bachelor of Science in history. He returned to Damascus in September 1994.

Ammar briefly taught social studies at the Pakistan International School of Damascus (PISOD) then located in Mazzeh, Damascus, between 1995-1997. Known to his students as "Mr. Ammar", Abdulhamid was a respected teacher who encouraged creative thinking and was not afraid to objectively discuss the faults of monotheistic religions, in particular Islam, which at times lead to discontent among some conservative students and their families, but also drew respect and admiration from students of various backgrounds.

He married author and human-rights activist Khawla Yusuf.

Adbulhamid and Yusuf fled Damascus in September 2005, after death threats by the Assad regime. They currently live in Washington, D.C.,with their two children Oula (1986) and Mouhanad (1990), awaiting political asylum in the United States.[3]

Foreign policy

Abdulhamid was a visiting fellow in the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution 2004-2006.[3][4]

Abdulhamid was a fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and is member of its Syria Working Group.[5]

Abdulhamid was the first Syrian to ever testify in front of American Congress 2006/2008 against what he viewed as crimes by the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and briefed presidents of the United States among other world leaders.[6]


Abdulhamid and Yusuf have founded several politically oriented foundations:

  • DarEmar: In 2003, they established DarEmar, a publishing house and non-governmental organization dedicated to raising the standards of civic awareness in the Arab world.[7]
  • Tharwa Foundation: In 2003, they founded the Tharwa Project while still residing in Syria. After relocating to the U.S. in 2005, they founded the Tharwa Foundation as an offshoot. The foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots political organization that encourages diversity, development, and democracy in Syria and across Southwest Asia and North Africa. (The foundation's name comes from the Arabic word tharwa or "wealth" while playing on thawra or "revolution.") The foundation works to break the information blockade imposed by the government of Bashar Al-Assad with a cadre of local activists and citizen journalists to report on socio-political issues in Syria.[8]
  • Hands Across the Mideast Support Alliance (HAMSA): In 2008, Abdulhamid co-founded Hands Across the Mideast Support Alliance (HAMSA), an initiative to mobilize international grassroots support for democracy activists in the Arab world.[9]
  • I Am Syria: a non-profit media based campaign founded in 2012, that seeks to educate the world of the Syrian conflict. This movement is dedicated to let the people of Syria know that the world is supporting them through video, pictures, and media attention.[10]


External links

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