Gender in Conflict: For Sama & The International Impact of the Syrian Conflict

Event Details

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Watch the event recording here and read the key takeaways here.

Join a group of Expert Panelists for this unique WIIS Webinar discussing the international impact of the Syrian conflict, and specifically the experiences of women in conflict, based on the main themes of the film For Sama.

The Syrian Conflict has lasted over 9 years and has resulted in millions of internally displaced peoples and refugees, atrocious civilian casualties, and a global humanitarian crisis. With so many different international actors involved, this conflict has taken multiple turns throughout the past 9 years.

Why is this conflict still relevant today? What steps can members of the international community take to address the repercussions of this conflict? How does one reconcile the individual impact a civil conflict of this magnitude has on individuals, and especially the gender dynamics of the conflict?

Through a discussion with diverse practitioners, academics, and experts, WIIS seeks to provide an answer to these questions, using the film For Sama as an inspiration.


For Sama Summary

For Sama is an intimate and epic journey into the female experience of war. A love letter from a young mother to her daughter, the film tells the story of Waad al-Kateab’s life through five years of the uprising in Aleppo, Syria as she falls in love, gets married and gives birth to Sama, all while cataclysmic conflict rises around her.

Her camera captures incredible stories of loss, laughter and survival as Waad wrestles with an impossible choice– whether or not to flee the city to protect her daughter’s life, when leaving means abandoning the struggle for freedom for which she has already sacrificed so much.” (Source



  • Dr. Mary Bunn – Research Scientist at the UIC Department of Psychiatry & Deputy Director of Global Mental Health in the Center for Global Health
  • Ms. Lee Tucker – Senior Program Officer for Middle East Programs at the United States Institute for Peace (USIP)
  • Dr. Karam Shaar – Senior Analyst with the New Zealand Treasury’s Forecasting Modelling and Research Team & Non-Resident Scholar at the Middle East Institute
  • Ms. Dana Stroul – Shelly & Michael Kassen Fellow in the Washington Institute’s Beth & David Geduld Program on Arabic Politics
  • Moderator: Ms. Kayla McGill – Program Manager & Fellow, Women In International Security (WIIS)