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Syria and Myanmar

Syria Initiative

The Syria Initiative supports Syrian peace actors – both individuals and communities – in building peace at the local, national and international levels.. This includes the creation of peace networks between Syrians over conflict lines and giving Syrians the skills and knowledge needed to lead a change towards sustainable and inclusive peace.

The Syria Initiative aims to build consensus towards an inclusive peace process through dialogue. Leveraging on a strengthened Syrian-led knowledge base, it also aims to support national and international policymakers decision-making that is conflict sensitive.

The project supports women’s meaningful participation in peace processes. Peace cannot be achieved nor sustained without half the population.

Started in 2014, the joint project between Felm and Common Space Initiative (CSI) is mainly funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Beirut. Syria Initiative has also received annual support from the Helsinki Parish Council.

Some of the project’s key results include:

  • Creation of neutral and safe spaces and opportunities for Syrians to discuss, build common understanding, solve problems, and build foundations for peace;
  • Strengthened capacities of Syrian peace builders to act as local facilitators and mediators;
  • Strengthened women’s participation in local, national and international peace processes;
  • Syrian peace builders have gained various opportunities to impact international decision-making concerning Syria.


An inclusive peace process is crucial for ensuring an effective and sustainable political and economic transition in Myanmar. Acknowledging the deep mistrust in Myanmar, we focus on supporting each of the main stakeholders in the process with knowledge resources, facilitation and advice. Finding ways to reconcile enemies and help them to become partners in peace is our core challenge and objective. In particular, we support the participation of ethnic groups and strengthen their capabilities for influencing the negotiation processes. The project is financed by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.

Some of our key results include:

  • The opposing parties have participated in the creation of the framework for political dialogue, which has supported having a common vision for the peace process
  • The capacity of ethnic groups to negotiate and to maintain ceasefires has strengthened
  • Most ethnic minority groups and their leaders have been able to participate in the peace and dialogue process, despite all its complex challenges
  • Regional safety nets and informal discussion channels have been built to break deadlocks, to support strategic planning and to enable grassroots inclusion.