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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 five day leadership development programme at Churchill College for a select group of 13 senior women from the Karama network, a regional NGO based in Egypt and operating across the Arab region. These women have led movements and remarkable changes in their communities and countries during difficult times and under significant political instability.


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.


The purpose of the Møller Institute is to “inspire individuals to be the best they can be to benefit themselves, the organisations and communities which they serve as well”. Our ambition was to provide 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. We wanted to further support women leaders to continue their significant influence in policy and decision making at local, national and international level with renewed courage and resilience.

The narrative that underpinned this programme was for Karama leaders to work on their current priorities and live projects throughout the week as a vehicle for discussion and to apply the learning. This culminated with the designed conference which provided the opportunity for each individual to present their remarkable story with persuasion and confidence to influence high-level decision makers and gatekeepers.


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

Content was delivered through a blend of lectures and presentations from highly-skilled speakers as well as through action and experiential learning exercises, whilst group work, group discussion and Q&As accommodated insightful reflection and helped to build a sense of community and togetherness. Delegates had the opportunity to engage with cultural Cambridge and connect heart and mind to this special place.

The Møller Institute delivered cutting-edge development, tools and frameworks to support their learning. The women shared powerful insights and experiences and learned from the outside-in and built resilience from the inside-out, growing their courage and enhancing their impact. In addition, the programme built relationships and community within the group through shared learning, shared leisure and shared challenge.

Participants learnt how to better themselves by building personal resilience, self-reflection and self-care through a series of thought-provoking workshops. This encompassed exploring how to transform through our leadership – using the work of Jim Burns to explain how leadership is an active, conscious choice using consideration of others; giving ‘radical candour’ feedback and stimulating their creativity and motivation through role modelling and inspiration.

Key areas:

  • Develop personal purpose and story to communicate with authenticity for higher engagement
  • Practise mediation and reconciliation to build strong communities
  • Learn from Churchill, the speech maker, to speak with courage and conviction
  • Understand your preferred social style and how to flex for effective connection
  • How to influence and shape policy by learning from real-life policy projects


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.”