About Qisetna

Qisetna: Talking Syria is a non-political social and cultural project aiming to engage Syrians and people with a connection to the country to share their stories. It provides a reminder of the humanity of ordinary Syrians through their relationship with arts, culture, sport and places. 

The first stage of the project was creating a non-political, bilingual and inclusive blog platform where Syrians feel safe to share their stories. A second aim of this blog is to provide international audiences with a perspective on Syria which is lacking from headlines about the ongoing war. Additionally, the project encourages Syrians develop their storytelling skills through workshops for youth and mentoring. The results of the workshop are to be published on the blog and hopefully later in a book.

Submissions and enquiries are welcome. Please contact talkingsyria@gmail.com for more information.

We send out a monthly newsletter with the latest stories. You can sign up to it here.

If you prefer reading in Arabic, you can access our Arabic website here.


Juan delGadoJuan delGado (creative producer) lives and works in London. He graduated in Media Arts at the University of Westminster and received awards from the Arts & Humanities Research Council and British Academy in 2001. He works across a range of media including installation and photography and has produced an extensive body of work that explores themes of mobility, trauma, landscape and disability. He was awarded an Unlimited Commission in 2014 for his work “Sailing Out of Grain“, and has been supported by The Wellcome Trust, Film London, Colombian Ministry of Culture, British Council, Artschool Palestine amongst other prestigious international institutions. His recent work Altered Landscapes was supported by Arts Council England and Spanish Embassy London. He is the co-founder and creative producer of Qisetna: Talking Syria..


Dima MekdadDima Mekdad (co-founder) is a Syrian London based scientist pursuing a PhD in Bioanalysis research at King’s College London, and working at LGC as a research analyst. Parallel to her scientific career, Dima is actively engaged in education and cultural projects. Dima is a co-founder and director of Qisetna: Talking Syria. She also volunteers as Jusoor London Ambassador and as a member of UWC Syrian National Committee.



Julia Rampen head shotJulia Rampen (editor, English blog, co-founder) is a Scottish journalist based in London. She travelled to Syria in 2010. In addition to journalism, she is an award-winning poet and a creative writer.







Carol Hanna (photo with whitish background)Carol Hanna (administrator) is a Syrian who is based in the UK.







Tamara ToumaTamara Touma (graphic designer) is a Syrian who has lived in Damascus all of her life. She studied Architecture at Damascus University and has worked as a freelance graphic designer since 2010. She has a passion for arts and has participated in many drawing competitions. She has volunteered for a number of local NGOs.






Karam Al Hamo (social media) is a Syrian who was born in Hama but spent his life living in different cities and countries. He studied civil engineering in Homs only to graduate from Damascus University in 2013. After graduation he worked with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent for a year before leaving to Germany to study in a master programme in urban planning. He has been engaged in volunteer work for several years now for various causes and is currently residing in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.





Mohamad Hajo (Arabic) is an aspiring Syrian short story writer who was born and raised in Aleppo and is currently living in Bonn, Germany. In addition to writing short stories, he writes articles as well. He writes mostly in Arabic, but has also several short stories and articles in English. Among the websites and magazines which published his work are:

Al-Arabi Magazine, Al Araby Al-jadid newspaper, The Voice of Reason, Dahnon, Delta-N magazine, and Bait el Sard magazine.




Bassam Dawood is a graduate of the Higher Institute for Dramatic Arts in Damascus and an experienced actor. He has been living in Berlin since 2013, where he presents the show Hakawati Souriali, and seeks to revive the Hakawati (oral storytelling) tradition. He performed at the Scottish International Storytelling Festival with Qisetna: Talking Syria.






Picture of me 1

Samer Khoury, a Masters degree student in internal medicine, University of Damascus. Samer participated in several cultural projects at the University of Kalamoon debate club and public relations team. Samer aims towards better involvement of  Syrian youth in social and cultural development.




Nick Salter

Ayan Said

Hellen Gheorghe

Nasir Alajmi

And the other volunteers who prefer not to be named



4 Responses to “About Qisetna”

  • Emily


    I am organising a fundraising event for Syria on Thursday 3rd of December at St John’s church, Waterloo in London and was wondering whether someone from Talking Syria could come and speak at it.

    ‘Makan’, the organising group, was started by friends in London who have spent time in the Middle East (Syria, Jordan and Palestine) and who have witnessed the beauty and richness of its culture and experienced the incredible warmth, generosity and humour of the people. Deeply saddened by the situation in Syria, through Makan evenings we hope to share some Syrian and Middle Eastern culture with people in the UK, through storytelling, music and food, and raise funds for Syrians at this desperate time. We plan to run events four times a year (one per season).

    Here are the links to the December event:

    Facebook page (with link to event): http://www.facebook.com/MakanSyria

    Eventbrite page: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/an-advent-celebration-of-syrian-culture-an-evening-of-music-storytelling-and-food-tickets-19262566856

    It would be wonderful to see you there! We’d be extremely grateful if you could share this with your network.

    With warm wishes


    • admin

      Hi Emily,

      We’d love to speak at it, although I appreciate this response may be a bit late. Do you have an email we could contact you on? Or email us at talkingsyria [at] gmail.com



  • Jackie Carothers

    A group of us are organising a fundraising storytelling event in Edinburgh on April 2nd which will be called “Story, Song Syria”. We can have access to a projector and screen and wondered if you would permit us to show peoples stories and videos from your wonderful website.
    I can send you more information about the event and also about our group if you wish.

  • Anonymous

    Hi there,

    I’d like to join your newsletter if possible.


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