Community Projects – Father Paolo Scholarship

The destruction of Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor provinces over the past years has had a major impact on the infrastructure and basic services in the provinces. This has led local and international organizations as well as local government bodies to intensify their efforts to restore these services.

 

To support these efforts, the CSSC has launched a small grant program called “Father Paolo Community Grant”, which aims to help the partner organizations to develop and implement small-scale community projects under the Center’s expert supervision.

 

These small grants provided an opportunity for partner organizations to apply the skills and knowledge they gained during the incubation program. The organizations hosted by the Center have successfully implemented 24 projects in [Raqqa and Dier ez Zor] varied from psychological support to the rehabilitation of facilities and services such as water, electricity or parks and other vital services.

 

The projects were selected according to the needs of the local community, the field of work of the organizations, and their location. The partners selected their projects and developed their proposals with the support of the Center’s trainers, before implementing these projects following their plan.

 

Who is Father Paolo?

Father Paolo Dall’Oglio is an Italian Jesuit priest and noted peace activist. Born in 1945, Father Paolo is the founder of the mixed monastic and ecumenical Community al-Khalil in Deir Mar Musa, dedicated to Muslim-Christian dialogue.

 

Since the outbreak of the war in Syria, he has relentlessly called for a peaceful democratic transition in Syria, based on what he calls “consensual democracy.” Father Paolo was one of the most prominent believers in the need for dialogue between all parties, even the most radical ones. Paolo Dall’Oglio sent an open letter to the UN Special Envoy at the time Kofi Annan was demanding “the presence of thirty thousand non-violent observers, from global civil society to Syria, to help build a democratic life … restore local committees and establish reconciliation committees under the protection of international observers.” This letter led the Syrian regime to exile him from Syria in 2012.

 

In December of that same year, Paolo Dall’Oglio was awarded the Peace Prize of the Italian region of Lombardy, which is dedicated to individuals who have done extraordinary work in the field of peacebuilding. In 2013, Father Paolo was kidnapped in Raqqa province by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Sadly, to this day, his fate remains unknown.

 

CSSC chose Father Paolo’s name to honor his relentless contributions to supporting peace efforts in Syria, and the model he created through his field activity; and his constant efforts to bring together different views and build trust and promote joint action; values that have been adopted by a CSSC since its establishment.