Middle East/North Africa (MENA)

Iman BibarsDr. Iman Bibars

Iman is the Regional Director of Ashoka Arab World (AAW), which she launched in 2003, a Leadership Group Member and the Global Diaspora Leader in Ashoka.

Renowned within Egypt and throughout the region for her work as an outspoken advocate for the rights of marginalized groups, including women and children, Iman is a co-founder and the chairperson of ADEW, an Egyptian CSO that provides credit and legal aid for impoverished women, while making substantial changes at the policy and the community levels to empower these women and their families.

With more than 30 years of experience in strategic planning, policy formulation, community development and project design, Iman has dedicated her life to giving a voice to the voiceless – namely female heads of households in some of Egypt's poorest areas. Her extensive experience also comprises roles in UNICEF, Catholic Relief Services, CARE-Egypt, GTZ and KFW. 

Iman holds a PhD in Development Studies from Sussex University and a BA and MA in Political Science from the American University in Cairo. She was a Peace Fellow at Georgetown University and a Parvin Fellow at Princeton University.

As a writer articulating Ashoka’s vision of Framework Change and relating it to pertinent social issues within the Arab World, Iman’s work is regularly featured in national and international press outlets. She has also contributed to several books about social entrepreneurship and has authored the books Heroines and Victims: Women, Welfare, and the Egyptian State, Dreams of a Good Fellow, one of the first books written in Arabic about US President Barack Obama, and The Women of Tahrir.

Sameh Esac

Sameh leads the Ashoka Arab World Finance Department, as the Financial Manager, and is responsible for the bookkeeping and accounting procedures of the office. His work involves ensuring our Fellows’ stipends arrive on time, revising all expenses, and managing funds received from donors. Having worked in the private sector earlier in his career, he chose firstly to move to the NGO sector and then to join Ashoka Arab World because of his desire to contribute to the advancement of his country and his community through applying his professional skills to causes he cared about. Sameh is passionate about using his experience and skill set to help manage and safeguard a valuable resource that is essential to all activities and to the support we provide to those enacting social change.


Lucy Marx

Lucy is Ashoka Arab World’s Partnership and Communication Officer, responsible for building local, regional and international partnerships with organizations that value innovation in social change, as well as managing different internal and external communication initiatives. Prior to moving to Egypt, she lived and worked for periods of time in France and Thailand, as well as her home country of the UK. She is passionate about intercultural dialogue and finding ways for people and initiatives to collaborate to bring their diverse skills and backgrounds to address social problems. With a BA in English Literature from the University of Oxford and a postgraduate diploma in Communicative Arabic from SOAS, University of London, she is an avid reader and writer and enjoys learning new languages and practicing them with great enthusiasm (and varying levels of accuracy). She also loves dance and food.


Nariman Moustafa

Nariman helps build a global network of leading social entrepreneurs and young changemakers through her role in Ashoka Arab World organization as the Arab World Venture Representative.

Nariman comes to Ashoka from a socially driven, hands –on background, with experience starting since high school across multiple sectors in emerging markets, particularly focusing on income generation and job creation, youth empowerment and leadership, inter-cultural dialogue facilitation and including areas of organizational management, strategic planning, project design and systems change strategies. 

As a university student, Nariman co-founded and led the Ain Shams University chapter for the international organization Enactus, formerly known as SIFE, where she built a student body that responds positively to local community challenges with a free enterprise, self-organizing mindset. She has also represented Arab youth in several occasions across the Arab world, Asia and Europe and was chosen for an honorary position as the Egypt Youth Ambassador by the Arab Thought Foundation for the years 2013 and 2014.

Nariman is passionate about education, diversity, mobility and inter-cultural dialogue; areas where she aspires to have her own footprint. In 2011, she obtained a bachelor of sciences in Dentistry after which she took a leap of faith and ventured into the social entrepreneurship and citizen sector. Currently, Nariman is doing her diploma in Liberal Arts and Sciences. Whether she is spending time in a bustling market, engaging with Egypt’s art scene or self-reflecting in a quiet garden, Nariman is nourished by societies and individuals that embody values of empathy, team work, collaboration and devotion.


Nada Sallam

 Nada is our Diaspora and Development Assistant, tasked with engaging with and encouraging Arabs abroad to contribute to Ashoka’s work in their countries of origin. She graduated with a BA in Political Science, Sociology, and Middle Eastern Studies from McGill University, and has had a long-standing passion for grassroots initiatives, and locally-sourced solutions. She is part Egyptian, part Italian, and part Belgian, and has lived in Saudi Arabia, Canada, the Netherlands, and Egypt. She is currently on her way to becoming a master saxophonist.


Sama Singer

Sama Singer is our Media and Marketing Junior Officer, tasked with engaging local, regional and international media outlets– as well as operating Ashoka Arab World’s social media accounts – to promote the concept of social entrepreneurship, promote Fellows’ work and bridge the gap between the business and social sectors. She graduated with a BA in Political Science and Public Administration from Cairo University and is currently doing her masters in comparative politics. In the past, Sama was an active member of youth-driven NGOs that aim for community development and youth empowerment such as Enactus Cairo University (formerly known as SIFE) and AIESEC Cairo University. She is very interested in social entrepreneurship, community development, human- and minority-rights, and youth empowerment. She is currently on her way to becoming the female version of Stanley Kubrick honing her movie directing skills!


Mohamed Salem

Mohamed is our Information Technology Officer, providing extensive support and consultancy on all IT-related matters to enable the smooth running of operational activities within the Ashoka Arab World office. He graduated with a BSC in Commerce from Banha University and has since obtained an IS diploma from the Arab Academy for Science, Technology & Maritime Transport, become a Microsoft certified IT professional, a Microsoft certified system administrator, and a Microsoft certified system engineer. His past experience lies primarily within multinational organizations, where he worked both within Egypt and throughout Africa to use his knowledge and experience to create and maintain effective IT solutions to improve the efficiency of operations and to drive strong communication.

A highly enthusiastic problem solver, Mohamed also brings to the Ashoka Arab World office a passion for intercultural dialogue, gleaned from his experience of working within international environments, and a strong desire to learn as much as possible about Ashoka’s Framework Change, to serve as an effective changemaker in all his work and actions.