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Karama – Promoting womens’ leadership in the Arab region

picture of karama logo

In 2018 the Møller Institute developed a ground-breaking leadership development programme for senior women from Karama, a regional NGO based in Egypt and operating across the Arab region, to support women leaders to continue their significant influence in policy and decision making at local, national and international level with renewed courage and resilience.


Karama’s members work with women, men, youth, academics, activists, community leaders, politicians, parliamentarians, and others in an effort to end and reform discriminatory laws and practices and promote women’s advancement, security, and protection in all aspects of public and private life. Karama has effected advocacy, capacity-building, knowledge-sharing and exchange, and policymaking at the national, regional, and international levels. Many of Karama’s recommendations have been adopted into new and existing constitutions, as well as official recommendations made to the state by international bodies such as the UN.

Pictured above: Conference panel focuses on the power of civil society and community mobilisation; the need for accessible and flexible funding for Womens Rights organisation; social and cultural norm change; locally-owned agendas; solidarity; and supporting networks of women mediators.

Practical Impact

The Møller Institute leadership retreat, designed and delivered by Gillian Secrett CEO, provided participants with cutting-edge development, tools and frameworks to support their learning. The women shared insights and experiences and learned from the outside-in and build resilience from the inside-out, growing their courage and enhancing their impact. The programme provided a place of refuge and learning for Karama leaders, a safe place to talk through issues in confidence with support and a community to which they can return to be inspired and energised to continue their great and challenging work.

Pictured above: Discussing Women Peacemakers (L-R) Sarah James (S-Sudan), Samia el Hashmi (Sudan); Amal Basha (Yemen); Baroness Fiona Hodgson (UK); Lord John Alderdice (UK)

Design and Delivery

The programme reflected the leadership development identified with Karama and the leadership sessions provided the opportunity for learning, reflection and discussion.

Key areas:

  • Develop personal purpose and courage to speak with authenticity
  • Develop personal story to communicate with engagement to get results
  • Practise mindfulness skills
  • Practise mediation and reconciliation to build strong communities
  • Develop behaviours to change communities
  • Learn from Churchill, the speech maker, to speak with courage and conviction
  • Develop self leadership – personal resilience, strength and well-being
  • Lead with courage and compassion
  • Understand your preferred social style and how to flex for effective connection
  • Emotional intelligence
  • How to influence and shape policy
  • Develop and share learning from real-life policy projects

Pictured above: The Baroness Hodgson of Abinger CBE frames the debate on women in peace and security.

In addition, the programme built relationships and community within the group through shared learning, shared leisure and shared challenge.

Speaking after the programme, Professor Georgia Sorenson, Møller Leadership Scholar explained, “El-Karama is a significant force for peace and justice for women in the Arab-speaking world. Hibaaq Osman is a transforming leader and has been for two decades. I am honored the leadership from Karama chose the Møller Institute for strategy and renewal and to teach us what leadership looks like on the frontline.”