Razan Shalab AlSham is a Syrian activist, entrepreneur and founder of Atlas Relief and Development International (ARDI).
Razan was born in Homs, Syria where she enjoyed a privileged lifestyle and pursued an academic career in English literature until the breakout of the conflict in Syria in 2011. She instantly became a prominent local activist and civilian journalist, documenting the violence of the Assad government on unarmed civilians.
Razan fled to Turkey in 2012 where she became the Field Director for the ‘Syrian Emergency Task Force’, a position she held until 2016. During that time, she lead an ambitious portfolio of international relief and emergency response efforts in close cooperation with international partners. Meanwhile, she smuggled journalists, politicians and activists along the Turkey-Syria border to spread awareness of the impact of the conflict.
In 2016 Razan founded ARDI, which now works to support Syrian civilians and refugees affected by the conflict in Syria. They are based in Dresden, Germany. As a Syrian woman, activist, and young leader, Razan brings a unique perspective to the current war in Syria and the resulting refugee crisis.
One of Razan’s main objectives is to empower women, especially girls, to learn, lead, decide and thrive. She has been working with the Women’s Democracy Network to build capacity and increase women’s participation in public life from the local to the national level inside Syria. Because of this, Razan has received numerous achievement and leadership awards from the International Republican Institute, Rising Stars Program and others.