Public diplomacy presents a unique challenge to the Syrian Arab Republic, whose public image in the international arena has been tarnished in a post-9/11 climate where 'Middle East' is all too often synonymous in Western media with 'lslamist extremism',
'radicalism', 'intolerance'. Attempts by the Syrian government and its embassies overseas to counter negative perceptions have largely centered on one of Syria's key strengths: its significant cultural and historical tradition. To this end, Syria has been
promoted as a 'Cradle of Civilisation', with emphasis placed on its scenic landscapes, as well as historical and archaeological landmarks. While this has been important in advancing a more positive image of Syria in the international domain, there is scope to build on these efforts in order to further Syria's interests overseas. This paper examines one aspect of Syrian society that defies existing negative perceptions: its thriving Christian population. It raises the question: can the religious tolerance enjoyed by Syrian
Christians under a secular framework of government be used as a public diplomacy tool to enhance Syria's international reputation? Syrian Christians constitute roughly 10 per cent of a country characterised by significant religious and ethnic diversity. Along with Sunni Muslims that represent the majority of Syria (74 per cent)...