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Syrian Doctors and Two Philanthropists to be Honored for Their Work

Physicians for Human Rights’ Annual Gala Dedicated to the Syrian People

For Immediate Release

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) will honor two Syrian doctors as well as the founders of the Asfari Foundation at its second annual gala next month. The awards will be presented at a gala dinner on April 18 at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York.

Two Syrian physicians, Dr. Lena* and Dr. Nour* will be honored for their brave work treating patients and documenting torture and other atrocities throughout the conflict. The two have taken great risks to do their jobs in a conflict marked by the deliberate targeting of medical professionals and facilities. PHR will also honor Ayman Asfari, a Syrian-born head of a multinational engineering firm, and his wife, Sawsan Asfari, a film producer. The two are founders of the London-based Asfari Foundation, which works to foster knowledge, tolerance, and integrity.

“Whether it’s treating the injured in Syria or tapping into the power of philanthropy to empower citizens, these four individuals have been doing extraordinary work in Syria and beyond,” said Donna McKay, PHR’s executive director. “Dr. Lena and Dr. Nour risk their lives and those of their families in order to help fellow Syrians desperately seeking medical care in this atrocious conflict. And Ayman and Sawsan Asfari have shown us the importance of investing in inclusive and open societies, so we can help build a future for Syria and elsewhere.”

About the honorees

  • Dr. Lena and Dr. Nour are being honored for their heroic work as Syrian medical professionals. Every day, they and their colleagues risk their lives – and often those of their relatives – in order to care for the sick and wounded and document human rights abuses. The Syrian conflict has seen unprecedented attacks on medical personnel and facilities. Since the start of the crisis in 2011, PHR has documented the deaths of more than 725 medical personnel and more than 350 attacks on health facilities in Syria.
  • The Asfari Foundation is a London-based charitable organization that educates and empowers young people, strengthens civil society, and provides relief in the Levant with a focus on Syria, Ayman Asfari’s birthplace. Founders Ayman and Sawsan Asfari envision a world where educated, tolerant citizens work together for inclusive, productive, open societies under the rule of law.

*Due to security reasons, these are pseudonyms.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to prevent mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.

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