Syria has ever been proud of its communities abroad and of their skills, talent and ability to integrate into their new homelands. This pride stems from the fact that the number of Syrian expatriates all over the world is estimated at 15 million, besides five millions in Brazil and one million and a half in Argentina.
In his June 2010 official visit to Brazil , President Bashar Al-Assad pinned great importance on the role played by the Syrian expatriates in fostering bilateral relations between their motherland, Syria and their new countries: "Syria is proud of its community not only for its success and excellence, but also for its ability to integrate in the new society which they live in without getting away from their origins. This means that they are still loyal to their original homeland as much as their loyalty to their current homeland."
Within this context, the first Syrian expatriates conference was held in Damascus in 2004 as the first step on a long road of serious and constructive work between expatriates and their homeland, Syria .
In an inaugural speech to the conference on October 9, 2004, the President highlighted the role played by Syrian expatriates as messengers for their country : “For you, and for your homeland, do communicate with your kin and friends. Do encourage interaction between your sons and sons of the motherland. Do group yourselves in organizations that speak for your culture and nation.”
Focusing on the role played by expatriates in being credible to their country, the president said : “Your important role in making living cultural interaction with the other peoples through your wide-scale geographical presence and openness to the others constitutes the practical reaction to those narrow-minded people who market the idea of clash among civilizations.”
More than 450 professionals and experts of Syrian expatriates met together in the conference held under the title " With Expatriates for Development', and debated several topics with government officials concerned and representatives of both the public and private sectors.
The conference was of a very special significance as things have been changed in the aftermath of Sept. 11 attacks -not only for the Syrian communities. A new responsibility is assigned to the Syrian community abroad, especially in the USA, in order to explain to the American media, officials and people the current situation in Syria and the crisis in the country caused mainly by terrorism attacks targeting Syria 's people , sovereignty and own existence. The Syrian expatriates are called upon to lobby with US Congressmen and Senators to visit Syria and maintain a dialogue with Syrian officials and people for better understanding the situation in Syria . Such a task has to be indeed the noble mission of every Syrian expatriate worldwide.