Assaad al-Achi is a Syrian economist and civil society activist based in Gaziantep, Turkey. He graduated from the American University of Beirut and INSEAD. He is currently executive director of Baytna Syria, a civil society support organization that seeks to be a hub for Syrian civil society organizations and empower them through capacity development and grants. From 2003 until 2014 he worked for ConocoPhillips, where he developed his project management, financial analysis, and communication skills. He left in August 2014, as a senior economist in Aberdeen, Scotland.
Achi joined the Syrian uprising early on, and is a founding member of the Local Coordination Committees. He joined the Syrian National Council in December 2011 and helped establish the Assistance Coordination Unit of the coalition of Syrian opposition groups in December 2012. He is also a founding member of the Syrian Nonviolence Movement and the Freedom Days activist platform. Diwan interviewed Achi in November to discuss the Syrian opposition and how the situation in Syria will affect reconstruction and a refugee return. Though the interview was conducted before the Astana round of negotiations that took place on November 29–29, the meeting made almost no progress, so that Achi’s comments in many regards are as relevant today as they were before.