Ammar was born in Damascus, Syria in 1966. When he was 17, Ammar studied English for three months in the United Kingdom. At 18, he spent a year at Moscow University before moving to Wisconsin in 1986. Two years later, he moved to Los Angeles, California, then, returned to Wisconsin in 1990 to study history. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Steven’s Point in 1992.
Ammar Abdulhamid, a Syrian democracy activist who exchanged radical Islamism for the Federalist Papers after studying in the United States, is featured in the Freedom Collection and recently shared his story with educators from across North Texas. "I don't know how many people can say the Federalist Papers actually inspired them to quit their fanatical sort of outlook on life," he says, "but to me ... that was really empowering."… Like Natan Sharansky a generation ago, the stories of men and women like Phyoe Phyoe, Joseph, Ammar, and Dalel keep the skeptics' view in doubt today. Even in the Middle East, where the democracy deficit is the starkest in the world and the immediate outlook is bleak, there's no doubt that the universal tug of freedom is present there as well.
Amanda Schnetzer is the director of the Human Freedom Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute.
Amid the flurry of really wonderful documentaries about Syria and the Syrian revolution that are emerging these days, this one might represent a more modest effort in this regard, and might seems a bit dated now since it was mostly filmed in the summer of 2012. Still, since the focus here is to trace the roots of the Syrian revolution and its transformation into an armed struggle, and to showcase the betrayal of the nonviolent liberal prodemocracy activists that led the early protests throughout the country by the leaders of the free world, the subject matter maintains certain relevance and seems to distinguish this effort from other works.
Syrian dissident Ammar Abdulhamid’s Freedom Collection interview provides a compelling look inside his troubled homeland. We were very fortunate to interview him for a second time and learn about more recent developments in his country. We are now pleased to post a recently recorded second set of interviews with Ammar, to hear his perspectives on Syria’s bloody civil war, steps that must be taken to end the violence, and building a sustainable democracy.
Interview on BrianLehrer.TV
As 2012 draws to a close, we re-assess the Arab Spring and discuss U.S. intervention in Syria and relations with Iran. Joining us are: Leslie Gelb, former New York Times columnist and assistant secretary of state in the Carter administration, and now, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations; Ervand Abrahamian, distinguished professor of Iranian and Middle Eastern history and politics at Baruch College; and Syrian human rights activist, Ammar Abdulhamid, a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and founder of the Tharwa Foundation.