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“It is possible!”. With these words and a lot of smiles, the first forum of the Syrian International Business Association (SIBA) ended. “SIBA” has made it possible to unite, promote and represent the voices of Syrian business men and women living abroad.
On July 12th and 13th 2017 and after several months of preparation, SIBA was formally established. About 80 participants representing different generations of Syrians living across 17 countries as well as several development partners were hosted in Marseille by the Center for Mediterranean Integration for the first forum of the Syrian International Business Association (SIBA)
With high hopes and enthusiasm, participants presented the projects they have built to create opportunities for their fellow Syrians—now refugees in the countries hosting them, by reinvesting in these countries and their businesses there. They have done so in Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, as well as in the Gulf countries and Europe.
During this forum, the role of SIBA was defined; the association will be supporting the business community and will help Syrian refugees adapt to their host countries.
Since the first meeting in Eschborn, back in February 2017, Syrian businessmen have been working intensively to bring SIBA to life. During the forum, concrete actions were taken. The constitution of SIBA was unanimously voted, a board of seven directors was elected and Mr. Samer Shamsi Basha was named president.
“Every Syrian has his own problem. With SIBA, Syrians will support others Syrians”, stated Mr. Mumtaz Daboul, member of the steering committee.
SIBA, the next chapter!
As SIBA sets its foundation, participants expressed their optimism regarding the future of the association and what it can bring to the Syrian diaspora around the world.
“I am optimistic about the future of SIBA. Its members have a common objective and share a feeling of responsibility towards the Syrian people. I fully trust that they will work for its success” said Mr. Fadi Haddad. Mr. Haddad delivered a clear message; “we want to establish a forum that can unify all Syrian businesspeople and be at the service of Syrian refugees living in host communities.”
Despite the pain and the heavy losses, Syrians still fight to achieve their dreams and offer help to their fellow countrymen and women. Mr. Haddad expressed his hope that “SIBA will become a shield for all Syrians”. “It will provide many services to refugees, such as finding funds, facilitating banking procedures, assist in obtaining diplomas equivalences, and providing professional training” he added.
Optimistic about SIBA’s future, Yara, a young entrepreneur was enthusiastic to be part of a project that could be “useful for her country”.
For Yara a lot of young people have ideas and projects to realize but don’t have the funds nor the capacity to do so. The role of the business community should be to support them and SIBA can become the place they can find this support.
Regardless of their political differences, Syrians living all over the world came together to talk about investing in the future of their country. This is what makes SIBA a unique experience for the Syrian diaspora.