Ghuna Bdiwi is a lawyer and a human rights activist, with legal practice experiences in both Syria and Canada. In Syria, her practice focused on cases that involved arbitrary detention and torture of political detainees, while in Canada her legal work focuses on refugee and immigration law. Her legal work and activism are internationally recognised; the United Nations Special Envoy to Syria nominated her to be a member of the Syrian Constitutional Committee that is mandated to draft a new Constitution for Syria.
Ghuna has a Ph.D., LL.M. (research), LL.M. (common law) from Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, and a Master’s in International Banking and Finance from Université Montesquieu Bordeaux IV, France. In her Ph.D. dissertation, Ghuna investigates a question, that is critical and timely in international criminal law and philosophy, namely, given the significant unlikelihood of institutional criminal punishment, is there a justification(s) of calls for criminal accountability in the midst of the ongoing Syrian Civil War? Her defence committee recommended that her dissertation be published promptly because its findings can be useful to other ongoing conflicts. Her research delves into several disciplines such as international human rights, legal theory, the theory of responsibility to protect (R2P), transitional justice, refugee law, international criminal accountability, and investigations of war crimes in Syria to answer this critical question.
In her academic and professional journey, Ghuna received many prestigious awards. She is the recipient of the International Center for Human Rights, Canada’s 2015 International Human Rights Award, an award that acknowledged her advocacy work in defending human rights in Syria. Additionally, she received the 2016 John Peters Humphrey Fellowship in International Human Rights from the Canadian Council on International Law, and a 2015 Fellowship from the Nathanson Center on Transnational Human Rights, Crime and Security, Osgoode Hall Law School.