KnowWar – Transforming Knowledge on Transcending Conflict in Syria

Project Team @ Department of Development Studies: 

Rabie Nasser, MSc | Department of Development Studies, University of Vienna, and Syrian Center for Policy Research
Mag. Dr. Helmut Krieger | Department of Development Studies, University of Vienna
Michaela Hochmuth, BA MA
Univ.-Prof. Dr. Petra Dannacher, MA | Department of Development Studies, University of Vienna

Projekt Partners: Syrian Center for Policy Research

Funded by: Carnegie Foundation of New York

Contact: Rabie Nasser MSc (Project Leader),, 

Project Lifetime: 09/14/2021 to 31/03/2024

©Rawya Mousa

About the Project

The war in Syria has resulted in the largest population exodus in recent global history, with more than 4.8 million officially registered refugees having fled the country mostly to neighboring nations and more than 6.3 million internally displaced persons (IDPs).

The research project KnowWar - Transforming Knowledge on Transcending Conflict in Syria aims at developing transformative research capacities, strategies, and epistemologies by researching alternative pathways in conflict-affected countries, in particular in Syria and Lebanon.

KnowWar builds on the first phase of the project Knowledge Production in Times of Flight and War – Developing Common Grounds for Research in/on Syria and seeks to institutionalize a network of critical knowledge producers to lay down the foundation for a sustainable node of knowledge production focused on transformative social research on the Arab region. This will ensure an independent and participatory research institution that engages with researchers and civil society actors in the region, builds on innovative methodologies and epistemologies, and researches alternative pathways to development and conflict transformation such as solidarity economy and inclusive political systems.

The project adopts critical social science perspectives that diagnose the roots and dynamics of armed conflict. It analyzes key actors and their policies which affect institutions, societies, and foundation of development and reads the conflict from a social justice perspective. The project adopts transformative research methods that don’t deal with people and societies as pure objects of research, it rather establishes an organic relation between researchers and community/society. This is done to exchange knowledge and experience, as well as to conduct social dialogue which can be used as foundations for policy alternatives and creative interventions that address the challenges and grievances of the people involved in the study. In this regard, the project also invests in building the capabilities of home-grown researchers and institutions as a key factor for fostering the active participation of society and be able to better determine their priorities.

In the long run the project aims at: 

a) Enhancing the production of transformative research in social sciences that focuses on conflict dynamics and alternative pathways to countering economies sustaining conflict, identity politics fueling it, and the political oppression derived from it. 

b) Expanding the available spaces for dialogue during time of war and promote the engagement of society in transcending conflict.

c) Strengthening the capacity of researchers, students, and practitioners working on conflict, by developing critical research tools to analyze it. 


Nasser, Rabie; et al (2023): The Impact of the Earthquake in Syria. The Missing Developmental Perspective in the Shadow of the Conflict.
PDF Text Arabic
PDF Text English

Zeno, Basileus; Nahhas, Zafer; Nasser, Rabie (2022): Identity Politics in Syria. A Background Paper. Vienna.
PDF Text Arabic
PDF Text English