At its annual business meeting on 22 November 2008, the Association awarded the prize for outstanding doctoral dissertation to Cyril Roussel. Dr. Roussel's thesis, entitled L'espace communautaire des Druzes du Sud de la Syrie: des strategies de creation d'un territoire a celles de la mobilite, was presented to the University of Tours in 2007.
On behalf of his colleagues on the awards committee (Geoffrey Schad and Andrea Stanton), Fred Lawson read the following commendation: "Dr. Roussel's comprehensive survey of Syria's Druze community engages a wide range of scholarship in the fields of geography, history and social science. The dissertation illuminates the demographic, economic and social dynamics that characterize the Druze population in Syria, paying special attention to the patterns of mobility that the community exhibits. It offers cogent comparisons between the trends one sees in Syria and those found in Lebanon and Palestine, and it avoids the deterministic assumptions that often creep into studies of geography and society. The dissertation makes a substantial contribution to our general understanding of the complex fabric of contemporary Syria."