ExpertiseDemocracy and Political Participation
Social Movements & Non-violent Resistance
Women Human Rights Defenders
Ala’a Basatneh (@AlaaBasatneh) is a Syrian-American political activist best known for harnessing the power of social media to drive social change during the Syrian Revolution.
She is focused on international student empowerment and civic engagement.
Basatneh became a digital activist in 2011, after news reports regarding the arrest of 15 young students in Daraa. She organized her first protest in Chicago, demanding the end of the martial law in Syria. Later, using Facebook, she coordinated rallies in Syria, helping anti-regime activists on the ground, as well as distributing digital footage to various media outlets. She has also personally delivered medical supplies in Syria. Basatneh received death threats as a result of her influence and activism. Her experience is the focus of the 2013 documentary called #ChicagoGirl: The Social Network Takes on a Dictator, which was screened at Seattle International Film Festival in 2014.
She has advocated for the application of a no-fly zone in Syria at the highest levels, including at the United Nations, during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as U.S. Secretary of State.
Basatneh holds a political science degree from Northeastern Illinois University and a Masters degree in Global Affairs and Human Security from Florida International University, focusing largely on politics in the MENA Region.