Sadik al-Azm (1934-2016)

sadik_greyThe IWM mourns the death of the Syrian philosopher Sadik al-Azm, who died in exile in Berlin on December 11, aged 82. In November 2015, he participated in a Political Salon on Syria at the IWM and had planned to spend the academic year 2016-17 as the Krzysztof Michalski Visiting Fellow at the institute – a wish that remained unfulfilled.

Sadik al-Azm, one of the Arab world’s most influential intellectuals, was born in Damascus in 1934.  He was Professor em. of the History of Modern European Philosophy at the University of Damascus in Syria and held numerous professorships around the world. As one of the most prominent human rights activists and advocates of intellectual freedom, free speech and secularism in the Arab World, he participated in the “Damascus Spring” in 2000-2001 fighting for democratization in Syria. He was the president of the League of Free Syrian Writers and editor-in-chief of its journal Awraq. His many books, articles and pamphlets, published in Arabic and English, have contributed significantly to major social, political, religious and ideological debates in the Arab World from the 1960s until today. His publications include Collected Essays (2014), Critique of Religious Thought (2015) and Self-Criticism After the Defeat (2011). He was awarded the Erasmus Prize and Leopold Lucas Prize in 2004 as well as the Goethe-Medal in 2015.