Live as a Changemaker… Unleash your Innovation with Ashoka Arab World


Pause for a moment and take a deep careful look around you, a look into people’s thoughts and minds, into their dreams and hopes… You cannot help but notice this strong will of doing good, of changing what needs to be changed, of having an innovative role in the rise of the society and taking a lead in solving social issues that has been lying there for years waiting for attention, while old traditional ways of tackling them are of no use anymore. No matter these people’s age, background or culture is.

 Now we are witnessing a time where the Arab Awakening is confirming everyone’s ability to positively change our communities, to shift our actions and paradigms so that everyone has an impact in the society, to become Changemakers. Before and after that, Ashoka Arab World (AAW) has always believed in the idea of social innovation and creating a network of Social Entrepreneurs and Changemakers who could foster positive change in their societies. We have been supporting outstanding local individuals who turn challenges into opportunities and positively transform the lives and communities around. We call them Ashoka Fellows. Furthermore, Ashoka has been empowering Everyone to be a Changemaker™. All these agents for change provide truly inspiring stories, demonstrating that all it takes is the belief that you can do it!

 Throughout the time, we have seen how Ashoka Fellows prove every day that one of the most powerful forces for change in the world is a new idea in the hands of  leading social entrepreneurs -creative, committed and inspiring individuals with innovative solutions and potential to change patterns across society and leave their own print. Additionally, we have observed how inspired by building a better world, anyone can unleash positive change in our workplaces, homes and communities.

 For example, someone like Raghda El Ibrashi, an AAW Fellow, who started Alashanek Ya Balady (AYB) by inviting her fellow students to join her in creating real, long-lasting, and sustainable development of Egypt. Reaching one of the most successful and innovative youth Civil Society Organizations in Egypt with the potential to generate 15,000+ jobs in the next 5 years. Tamer Bahaa, an AAW Fellow as well, who challenged the existing correlation between deafness and low intelligence, which in turn manifests itself into damaging stereotypes and restricted opportunities for full citizenship. Tamer’s initiatives have been very successful that his Deaf Literacy curriculum has been recognized by the Egyptian state and is currently being replicated in three regions. Balsam and Lulwah Al Ayoub, AAW Fellows, who are changing the lives of Arab women specially in the Gulf, using sports as a key strategy and themselves as beacons of hope, demonstrating a woman’s power. They have achieved high rankings in regional and international competitions, and are continuing to fence professionally.

 All what these Fellows and many other Changemakers have in common is a vision for a better world. They all recognize Ashoka’s vision of “Everyone is a Changemaker”™ as a reality.  

 Today, Social Entrepreneurs and Changemakers are the key to the rise of our communities, they are the change agents for societies, they seize opportunities others miss, improve systems, invent new approaches, and create solutions to change society for the better and create peace, harmony and progress.

 We, at AAW, thrive to achieve the fundamental changes to the way problems are approached by building an “Everyone a Changemaker”™ world, where everyone has the freedom, confidence, and skills to turn challenges into solutions. We believe that passion and innovation make everything.


For more information about our fellows, Changemakers and programs, visit our Facebook page:

 To Nominate a Social Entrepreneur for Ashoka Fellowship, visit:


Ashoka-Shelter Event on Social Innovation – Dubai 24th of April


Are you an aspiring or established social entrepreneur? Are you a business entrepreneur with a social vision? Interested in learning how social innovation can benefit you, your work, organization, or business? Interested in the growing social entrepreneurship in the UAE and GCC? 

Join us for the 1st of a series of events aimed at developing social entrepreneurship in the UAE and GCC.

  • Tuesday, April 24, 2012
  • Doors will open at 7 PM
  • The event is free and open to the public
  • Please RSVP to:

Social entrepreneurship is about unleashing positive change at the local level; improving the way people live by creating innovative local solutions. It is also about scaling those ideas to create global impact by sharing what is learned locally around the globe.  The role of Ashoka is to identify and grow the impact of social entrepreneurs and Changemakers and at the same time connect them into a global network.

Now is the time for social entrepreneurs here in the GCC to build, develop, and scale their work for the world. 

This series of events is brought to you by Ashoka and Shelter. We’re bringing together local social entrepreneurs, business leaders, global social entrepreneurship champions, youth, and everyone interested in learning how to change the world.  The Ashoka Shelter Series provides practical, experiential workshops on how social innovation can develop and benefit individuals and organizations across all industries and sectors.

This first workshop will focus on:

  • Social entrepreneurship in practice
  • Existing examples, practices, and habits of successful social entrepreneurs
  • Opportunities for social entrepreneurship in the GCC
  • Exploration of the Ashoka model for driving social entrepreneurship
  • The added value of social entrepreneurship for society, business and public sectors
  • Networking and community building 

Keynote Speakers include:

Olivier Kayser – Founder of Hystra, a global consulting firm that works with business and social sector pioneers to implement hybrid strategies and profitable innovative business approaches. These models are designed to eradicate social and environmental problems by combining insights and resources from the business and citizen sectors. Prior to this, Olivier was Vice-President of Ashoka – Europe, launching its Paris and London offices. He build the Ashoka Support Network, which is a growing global association of over 400 business people who support social entrepreneurs with their expertise and financially. Olivier spent 18 years with McKinsey & Company as a Partner in 1991 and as a Senior Partner in 1998. Olivier is currently a Non-Executive Board Member for two multi-billion Euros corporations (GeoPost and Belron) and three non-profits: the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), Center for Digital Inclusion-Europe and Ashoka France.

Dr. Iman Bibars – Regional Director of Ashoka Arab World and Vice-President of Ashoka: Innovators for the Public – the world’s leading association of social entrepreneurs. In 2003, Iman successfully launched Ashoka operations in the Middle East by establishing its program in 7 countries, and identifying and supporting 61 social entrepreneurs in Mashreq, Al-Maghreb, the Levant and Gulf. Aiming to cultivating their impact, Iman has built over 35 strategic partnerships, mobilized resources, and attracted international attention. Her efforts have continued to impact over 7 million people across the region. A social entrepreneur herself, Iman co-founded and currently chairs the Association for the Development and Enhancement of Women (ADEW), a leading citizen sector organization that reaches over 2 million people and provides credit and legal aid for impoverished female heads of household. Im an has offered her expertise in development issues to the World Bank, UNDP, European Commission, and the International Development and Research Center. She is also the author of 3 development-related books that focus on development issues in Egypt.

Guest Facilitator: 

Rama Chakaki – Co-Founder & CEO of Baraka Ventures. Baraka Ventures works with people and organizations that share a passion for wanting to be agents of positive change. Baraka builds and supports social ventures and sustainable businesses with a triple bottom line. Rama is passionate about place-based learning, nature, systems theory and the use of technology for sustainable development. She loves running workshops for new entrepreneurs, using social media for cause awareness and mobilizing youth. She’s also an avid scuba diver. 

Save the Date:


  • Tuesday, April 24, 2012
  • Doors will open at 7 PM
  • The event is free and open to the public
  • Please RSVP on Facebook or at



Ashoka Arab World 2011 Annual Report

Ashoka Arab World 2011 Annual Report

We would like to invite you to read the 2011 Ashoka Arab World Annual Report. The report outlines our work during the past year, our achievements, challenges we faced, and the work that we do each day to build the world that we all saw was possible during this past year.

Since 2003, Ashoka Arab World has positively affected over 12 million people in the Arab World. To find out how check out the 2011 Annual Report. Discover what it means to be a social entrepreneur and what Ashoka’s support can do.

In 2011, a year of challenges and opportunities, Ashoka continued working towards a future where everyone has the power to change their own lives and build better communities a world where Everyone is A Changemaker™ .

We witnessed the revolutions of 2011 which represent people’s desire to shape their own lives and build a better world and we are dedicated to this vision: A vision where everyone feels their own power to make change and turns their energy towards building a better future. More than ever, we see the need to catalyze innovation for social good and spread a tolerant and empathetic perspective towards social change.

We are thrilled to share the story of Ashoka Arab World with you today. Get to know Ashoka Arab World, get to be a Changemaker!!


The Ashoka Arab World Team