Open Hospital in Syria: to provide medical care and to rebuild a community

Friday, September 2, 2022 a in-presence and online conference in Rome at the Palace of the Chancellery

Countries Syria
Date 26.08.2022

2022 marks the fifth anniversary of the Open Hospitals project in Syria. Based on the intuition of Card. Mario Zenari, Apostolic Nuncio in Syria, supported by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and implemented by AVSI. Now it is time to assess our progress

Why a conference?

This conference will be an opportunity to review the characteristics of this intervention, to share the impact on the lives of Syrians and the local community, to report on how the funds raised have been used, and to identify potential ways forward.

By the end of 2021 it had provided about 80,000 free medical treatments to vulnerable Syrians by collaborating with three hospitals run by religious congregations, two in Damascus and one in Aleppo, and four dispensaries.

The Open Hospitals project is interesting and unique for multiple aspects:

  • the establishment of social welfare offices inside each of the three hospitals, where social workers could listen to individual requests for help, recognize people’s needs and living conditions, and make referrals to the necessary care;
  • guaranteed access to medical care for people in need regardless of their religion;
    careful needs mapping;
  • the overcoming of prejudice and division that allowed a community to be rebuilt, starting from concrete responses to concrete needs;
  • financial support for hospitals in crisis situations, thus allowing them to stay open and continue to provide care when otherwise it would have become impossible .
Open Ospital AVSI - event

Who made this possible?

This five-year journey has been possible thanks to mostly private donors who believed in this initiative, and thanks to the constant support of the Holy See.

Open Hospital - chirurgy

The event details and the program

The conference will revolve around experiences and witnesses of beneficiaries and practitioners, in attendance or connected from Syria, and reflections on the model this project created and its replicability.

Where: Palace of the Chancellery, Rome, from 2:30 to 6 PM
Moderator: Enzo Romeo, Journalist, RAI

To participate at the conference please write an email at:

Watch the Facebook Live streaming

The program:

  • 2:30 – 3:00 PM Greetings and opening remarks- Card. Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Eastern Churches
    – Alessandra Smerilli, Secretary of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development
  • 3:00 – 3:20 PM Project origin and developmentMarco Perini, AVSI MENA Regional Manager
  • 3:20 – 4:00 PM Testimonies from Syria- Joseph Fares, Director of the Italian Hospital in Damascus
    – Arcangela Orsetti, Sisters of St. Joseph of the Apparition, Saint Louis Hospital in Aleppo (in connection from Aleppo)
    – Fadi Azar, Franciscan Friars, Latakia dispensary
  • 4:00 – 4:30 PM Open Hospitals: a transformational new model for development cooperation- Marina Sereni, Italian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation
  • 4:30 – 4:50 PM Coffee break
  • 4:50 – 5:40 PM The donor perspective- Eduard Habsburg-Lothringen, Ambassador of Hungary to the Holy See
    – Leonardo Di Mauro, Director, Italian Bishops’ Conference’s Service for Charitable Action in the Third World
    – Enzo Fortunato, Sacro Convento of Assisi
    – Pier Luigi Manocchio, General Council, Third Pillar Foundation
    – Sandro Veronesi, President, Calzedonia Group
  • 5:40 – 6:00 Concluding remarks- Card. Mario Zenari, Apostolic Nuncio in Damascus
Hospital - outdoor
Open Hospital - doctor