Syria Transition Challenges Project

A multilateral dialogue and research project that aims to build common ground between the European, Russian, Turkish and US views on the issues of Reform, Refugees Return, and Reconstruction in Syria (3R). This project started in March 2019 and is part of the GCSP Diplomatic Dialogue.

Project team

Colonel Christian Bulhamann photo

Christian Bühlmann, project supervisor

Colonel Christian Bühlmann is seconded from the Swiss Armed Forces as a contribution to peace, security and stability. As the Head of Diplomatic Dialogue, he is specifically committed to the values of neutrality, impartiality, independence and inclusiveness.

Prior to this assignment, he gained extensive experience in the area of defence policy, politics, and military strategy as Senior Advisor to the Chief of Swiss Armed Forces. He has over 30 years of combined civilian and military experience.

Read the full bio

Placeholder imageAbdulla Ibrahim, Project lead

Abdulla M. Erfan is a Senior Advisor to the Diplomatic Dialogue Department at the GCSP and the lead research in the Syrian Transition Challenges Project. Abdulla has more than 10 years of experience in multilateral dialogues and research projects management. Abdulla is a PhD candidate at the Graduate Institute in Geneva where he researches militia formation in the Syrian civil war.

Abdulla’s research focus on militias behavior, new models of peace making, post war institutional reforms, economic sanctions, political economy of transitions, and international powers policies in the Middle East.

Abdulla advised the World Bank Institute and holds an MA from the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies of the University of Notre Dame. 

Read the full bio

Alexandra MatasAlexandra Matas, co-Project lead

Alexandra Matas is a Head of the Effective Governance  cluster at the GCSP. Alexandra is directing Effective Governance courses in both English and French for State officials from different countries including Myanmar, Iraq, Cameroon and others. She also contributes to a number of GCSP courses including the European Security Course (ESC), Leadership in International Security Course (LISC), Swiss Military Professional Officers Training (SPOT) and others.

Read the full bio

Francesca Invernizzi photoFrancesca Invernizzi, Research Assistant and project coordinator

In September 2019, Francesca earned her Master’s degree in Internal Relations and Political Science from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies of Geneva (IHEID) where she specialized in methods of research. In the same period, she joined the Geneva Centre for Policy Research (GCSP) in order to contribute to the Syria Transition Challenges Project as Research Assistant and Programme Coordinator. She is willing to further develop her quantitative methodological skills and is particularly interested in research-oriented projects.

Lorraine Charles Image Lorraine Charles, Research Associate

Lorraine's expertise is the political economy, development, education and livelihoods in the Middle East. She has also worked on issues related to the Syrian crisis since 2011. Lorraine is a research associate at the Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge and Project Affiliate for, a research project at the University of Edinburgh, which conducts research on digital livelihoods for refugees.

Read the full bio




European University Insitute Logo Syrian Centre for Policy Research logo SwissPeace Logo
European University Institute
Syrian Centre for Policy Research



Russian-Syrian Business Cooperation: challenges and prospects, Dr. Igor A. Matveev, December 2019