Johny Messo

Johny Messo graduated in 2007 from Leiden University in Hebrew and Aramaic Languages and Cultures.

About 25 years ago, Mr. Messo decided to dedicate himself to revitalizing and advocating for the Aramean (Syriac) people, who are indigenous to Southeast Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.

Over the years, he assumed various positions until he was elected, in 2009, as the president of the World Council of Arameans (Syriacs) – since 1983 the global umbrella organization of the Arameans and since 1999 an NGO in special consultative status with the United Nations.

For over a decade, Mr. Messo has worked on a number of questions pertaining to Turkey, Iraq and Syria as well as to terrorism, migration, refugees and diaspora issues. Because of his strategic and visionary thinking and his inspirational leadership, he is internationally recognized for giving a new meaning to leadership, networking, advocacy and diplomacy among the Aramean people.

His many publications and presentations across Europe, America, India, Australia and the Middle East largely relate to past, present and future issues concerning the Aramean people and their cultural heritage. His latest book from 2017 is titled “Arameans and the Making of ‘Assyrians’: The Last Aramaic-speaking Christians of the Middle East.”

Born (1978) and raised in the Netherlands, Mr. Messo’s family originates from Midyat in Southeast Turkey’s Mardin province. He has also lived in Stockholm and has recently moved to Cologne, together with his wife and daughter. He speaks Aramaic, Dutch, English and German, and is improving his Hebrew, Arabic and Turkish.