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Syrian Kurds and their Arab and Christian allies have embarked on one of the most radical experiments in self-governance of our time. In defiance of the Assad regime, the Islamic State, and regional autocrats, this unlikely coalition created a statelet to govern their semi-autonomous region. In Statelet of Survivors, Amy Austin Holmes charts the movement from its origins to what it has become today. Drawing from seven years of research trips to northern and eastern Syria, Holmes traces the genealogy of this social experiment to the Republic of Mount Ararat in Turkey, where a self-governing entity was proclaimed in 1927 based on solidarity between Kurds and Armenian genocide survivors. Founded by survivors of modern-day atrocities, the Autonomous Administration does more to empower women and minorities than any other region of Syria. Holmes analyzes its military and police forces, schools, the judicial system, the economic model it has implemented, and strategy of empowering women who were once enslaved by ISIS.

Amy Austin Holmes is Research Professor of International Affairs and Acting Director of the Foreign Area Officers Program at George Washington University. Dr. Holmes has published widely on the global American military posture, the NATO alliance, non-state actors, revolutions, and military coups. She has a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University, and previously served as a tenured Associate Professor at the American University in Cairo, and as a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University. Dr. Holmes is the author of Social Unrest and American Military Bases in Turkey and Germany since 1945 (Cambridge UP) and Coups and Revolutions: Mass Mobilization, the Egyptian Military and the United States from Mubarak to Sisi (Oxford UP). Her third book, Statelet of Survivors: The Making of a Semi-Autonomous Region in Northeast Syria (Oxford UP) is based on a pioneering field survey of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). In addition to her academic career, Dr Holmes served as an advisor at the U.S. Department of State through a Council on Foreign Relations fellowship. After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, she also taught as a volunteer lecturer at the Kyiv School of Economics.

The event is co-sponsored by the Columbia University Armenian Center, the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies (MESAAS), and the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research NAASR).

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