Ashoka Arab World and the Ford Foundation: New Partnership


Ashoka Arab World is proud to announce our new partnership with the Ford Foundation in Egypt.

The violence that erupted across Egypt recently exposed many young people to much more brutality and intolerance than previously experienced. Physical and armed conflicts between different social, political and religious groups were common, resulting in many lives being lost. Hatred and animosity to others is something that the youngest members of the community have been heavily exposed to and the threat of them accepting these violent models of behavior has become real. 

Ashoka Arab World and the Ford Foundation thus sees this as a crucial time to begin implementing educational projects which instill values of empathy and creative problem-solving among children. The project, which falls under the larger Ashoka Empathy movement has one main goal: to empower public school students with: leadership skills, innovative thinking, ability to work in teams, tolerance, compassion and understanding for others. The project aims to do this by organizing school teams to cultivate empathy and enable behavior change by implementing useful and adaptable tools. 

The Project is due to launch in January 2014.


Ashoka Fellow Amani El Tunsi featured in “Young, Female and Egyptian”, a short Austrian documentary

Ashoka Fellow Amani El Tunsi, founder of “Banat wa Bes,” was recently featured in the short documentary “Young, Female and Egyptian”. The Austrian made short documentary showcases the work of five Egyptian young women from different backgrounds, their accomplishments, their daily fights and the challenges and prejudices they are facing. In the documentary, Amani presents her work empowering young women to discuss taboo subjects through her radio station and her publishing house.
To watch the full documentary, click on the image above.

Ashoka Fellow Zeinab Al-Momani named Honoree at the 2013 Fairness Awards

Ashoka Arab World is proud to announce that Fellow Zeinab Al Momani was selected as Honoree at the 2013 Global Fairness Award, held in Washington DC in October. 


The award, instituted by the Global Fairness Initiative, honors exceptional leaders whose work and life have opened opportunity and access for the working poor throughout the world. By honoring these outstanding individuals, the Global Fairness Initiative wants to inspire a new generation of leaders to dedicate themselves to economic justice, fairness, and equality.

Zeinab was awarded for her great work in empowering women in rural communities in Jordan. After Ashoka nominated Zeinab, she was chosen as one of the three honorees alongside Her Excellency Tarja Halonen (First female President of Finland from 2000 to 2012) and Susan Berresford (President of the Ford Foundation from 1996 to 2007). The fact that Zeinab was awarded alongside these extremely high profile women speaks volumes for the inspiring and exceptional work Zeinab is undertaking.

Interested in Zeinab’s work? Visit

For more information on the Fairness Award, as well as and a full video of the ceremony, visit 

Palestinian Fellows: Joining forces to open an Ashoka Country Office in Palestine

Ashoka began its operations in the Arab World in 2003.
In 2005 we turned our attention to Palestine, searching for promising individuals driving systemic social change to benefit local communities. In 2006 we proudly elected our first Palestinian Ashoka Fellow. Since then, despite major shortages in funding and no established presence in Palestine, we have elected a total of 9 Palestinian Fellows


Palestine has proven to be a fertile land for social entrepreneurship and holds much potential for further growing the number of Palestinian Ashoka Fellows. Given this rich potential, Ashoka Arab World aims for 15% of our Fellows to be working in Palestine by 2015. However, we cannot reach this target without establishing a permanent presence in Palestine and securing financial support. 

This year, our Palestinian Fellows have joined forces in the aim of openning a local Ashoka Arab World office in Palestine. Our Fellows themselves formed this plan, recognizing the great benefit of having an Ashoka presence on the ground. 
With a presence in Palestine, Ashoka will be able to extend and expand our services to our Fellows in Palestine so that they may maximize their impact on the ground.
Our Palestinian Fellows have each agreed to contribute to the costs of premises, but are still exploring how to cover the salaries of two Ashoka Arab World representatives.
Although obstacles still remain, the Fellows have nonetheless made wonderful progress which will contribute enormously to the growth of their work and impact.