On Thursday, Basma Kodmanim, the Syrian opposition activist and professor at the French Institute of International Relations, died after a battle with illness. Syrian social media users have mourned her death.
Kodmani, a scholar, academic and opposition politician, was born in Damascus in 1958, the daughter of a diplomat and former detainee. She left Syria with her family in 1968 for Lebanon. Then she moved to England in 1971, where she settled.
Kodmani studied at Sciences Po in Paris, obtaining a doctorate in political science and working at the International Institute of International Relations (EVRI) in Paris. There, she created and promoted — from 1981 to 1998 — the Institute’s Middle East Program.
In 2005, Kodmani established the Arab Reform Initiative, a group of independent Arab research and policy institutes with partners in the United States and the European Union. The group aimed to promote reform and democratization in the Arab world and raise local awareness about the successful transition to democracy in other parts of the world, along with the mechanisms and compromises that made these successful transitions possible.
In 2007, Kodmani worked as a consultant in the international cooperation field at the French National Research Council. She was a researcher at the Center for International Studies and, until 2011, worked as a senior advisor for international cooperation at the French National Center for Scientific Research.
Dr. Kodmani is the author of numerous books, research and academic papers and articles in French and English on issues of democratization in the Arab world, the Palestinian diaspora, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Arab countries’ strategies towards Islamist movements, political change in North Africa, and regional security.
Kodmani held various consulting, research and management positions at the National Council for Scientific Research in France and the French Institute of International Relations in Paris.
She supported the Syrian revolution by contributing to establishing the Syrian National Council in 2011 and became the spokesperson for the Syrian National Council.
About a year later, Basma Kodmani withdrew from the council, saying it “did not achieve its goals, did not gain the necessary credibility, and did not maintain the confidence that the people entrusted to it upon its formation.”
She later joined the Syrian Negotiation Commission, which emerged from the Riyadh 2 Conference in 2017. She participated as an independent figure.
Kodmani later resigned in 2020, considering that “the coalition relied on the bloc supporting it, abandoning the consensus rule in the commission, and taking what it wanted from decisions by voting.”
Kodmani was also part of the founding body of the Syrian women’s political movement in 2017, in addition to being a member of the Syrian Constitutional Committee, which was formed in 2019 as part of the civil society delegation.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.