Founder and Managing Director of W4. After completing her B.A. at King’s College, Cambridge University, British-born Lindsey Nefesh-Clarke joined Human Rights Watch in New York and then moved first in Cameroon and later in Ivory Coast, where she worked at the West African regional office of UNICEF on a project to promote girls’ education. Upon her return to Europe, Lindsey began working with the Paris-based NGO, Enfants d’Asie, which operates humanitarian programs in Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and the Philippines, providing care for over 10,000 children in South-East Asia. Lindsey is a Board Member and Director of the Philippines Program, working closely with families and children in the slum areas of Cebu City. In May 2008, Lindsey trained in Bangladesh with Grameen Bank (founded by Nobel Peace Prize-winner Muhammad Yunus), obtaining a qualification to implement microcredit programs for the alleviation of poverty. This enabled her to implement microfinance programs in city slums and cemetery-slums in the Philippines. Lindsey obtained an Executive MBA at ESCP-Europe, Paris in 2009 and received the MBA Student of the Year award, bestowed by AMBA (the Association of MBAs) and the Independent newspaper, in recognition of her talent for leadership and her determination to “make a difference” in the world, a difference she is hoping to achieve through her groundbreaking work as the Founder and Director of the Women’s Worldwide Web.
W4 – Women’s WorldWide Web is an online collaborative platform dedicated to empowering girls and women around the world, through education, microfinance, access to ICTs and networking.
Co founder of Çöp(m)adam. Melih Özsöz was born in 1981 in Izmir, Turkey. He graduated from Sabanci University in Social and Political Sciences Department (undergraduate) and Bogaziçi University Master of Arts Programme on European Studies. Professionally he is working at Economic Development Foundation (IKV) as a senior researcher with main areas of interest social policy, employment, political reforms, Turkey – EU communication strategy. During his academic and professional life, he has always been involved in civil society work, took different positions ranging from voluntary work to project coordination.
Tara Hopkins and Melih Özsöz (friends for more than 15 years) established çöp(m)adam on August 2008, in Ayvalik, Balikesir. Çöp(m)adam is a play on words in Turkish, translating warmly to “garbage women”. The Project is designed to provide opportunities for women who have never earned a living while promoting awareness of environmental responsibility, through making cool and useful items out of throw-away material.
A visionary for social entrepreneurship in the broader Middle East, Dr. Iman Bibars is the Vice President and Global Diaspora Leader of Ashoka: Innovators for the Public and Regional Director of Ashoka Arab World. Ashoka is a global organization that accelerates social change by identifying and supporting leading social entrepreneurs with innovative solutions to world problems. She has spent more than 30 years working on socio-economic justice and empowerment of underprivileged communities and women, and has worked to heighten national and international awareness of urgent social development issues throughout The Middle East.
Bibars launched Ashoka Arab World (AAW) in Cairo, Egypt in 2003. During the first two years of Ashoka’s efforts in the region, primarily in Egypt, Ashoka has worked to increase knowledge about social entrepreneurship in the region and conducted 75 educational sessions to community development organizations and aspiring young entrepreneurs. Up-to-date, AAW has elected 64 Ashoka Fellows from 7 countries.
Bibar is the Global Leader of Ashoka’s Global Diaspora (GD) Initiative, Ashoka’s global effort to engage diaspora communities to support the work of the organization in their country of origin.
Under Bibars’ direction, AAW introduced the model of Collaborative Platforms (CP) as a way to have large-scale and high-impact outcomes. In 2012, Bibars is expanding the work of Ashoka to the Gulf region by forming partnerships with social businesses as a way to encourage the private and social sector to work more closely.
Bibars also launched the Women’s Initiative for Social Entrepreneurship (WISE), a program to foster social entrepreneurship among young women and combat specific challenges faced by existing women social entrepreneurs.
She is also the co-founder and current chairperson of Egypt’s very first microfinance organization the Association for the Development and Enhancement of Women (ADEW), a citizen sector organization (CSO) that provides credit and legal aid for impoverished female heads of household.
Bibars has offered her expertise in women’s development issues to the World Bank, UNDP, European Commission and the International Development and Research Center. She currently serves as Chair for the Regional Federation for Women’s in her governorate in Egypt and is a member of the Clinton Global Initiative. Bibars has spoken at various conferences including: Best Practices in Entrepreneurship Policy, World Innovation Summit on Education, World Economic Forum on the Middle East, Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship, and From Charity to Change: Trends in Arab Philanthropy.
She is the author of several books on gender issues including Victims and Heroines: Women, Welfare and the Egyptian State, and The Women of Tahrir, which details the most recent experiences of women during the Egyptian uprising. Bibars also published one of the first books written in Arabic on US President Barack Obama– Dreams of a Good Fellow.
Bibars was a Peace Fellow at Georgetown & Parvin Fellow at Princeton University. She received a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in Political Science from The American University in Cairo; Bibars completed her PhD in Development Studies and Anthropology from Sussex University. Bibars is fluent in Arabic, English & French and based in Cairo, Egypt.
Co-Founder and director of HarassMap, a volunteer initiative that combines mobile and internet technology and community activism to end the social acceptability of sexual harassment in Egypt. She received her MA in International Development and International Economics from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), a certificate in Strategic Frameworks for NGOs from the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, and her BA in Politics and Pre-Medicine from New York University. In addition to directing HarassMap, she currently serves as Development and Communications Consultant to INJAZ Egypt. She has lived and worked in Cairo, Egypt since 2004, where at the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights, she previously served as Director of International Relations and founded and managed their highly successful Campaign Against Sexual Harassment. She also served on the UN Development Assistance Framework M&E Task Force, as Development Officer at Ashoka Arab World and as pro-bono consultant to a number of Egyptian organizations.
Transpiral. Since Yasmine was six years old, she wanted to change the world. She got involved in community initiatives and by time she was in high school, she raised 15,000 dollars for Children with Cancer. At 18, she was the youngest winner of the Annual Business Plan Competition by Entrepreneurs Society for her social enterprise idea supporting women in Egypt.
She joined AIESEC, the world´s largest youth organization, and became Middle East North Africa Regional Program Manager, empowering thousands of young people with her programs. She launched Gone Cyclin, her first social enterprise, which raised over $50,000 to fund 400 women entrepreneurs in East Timor’s rural towns in its first year.
Yasmine is the Co-Founder of Transpiral, a leading online coaching institute that equips women with the right tools to launch their own businesses. She also leads the Social Impact Finance Forum , a global initiative which explores various ways financing can help entrepreneurs, and she is working on a book to encourage women in the Mediterranean to launch their own businesses.
Yasmine is an Egyptian Singaporean who has lived in six countries and has travelled to over 35 countries. She has worked with startups, global NGOs, SMEs and multinational companies of various sectors. Yasmine’s impact on the community was recognised in 2011 when she received, “AIESEC Top 40 alumni under 40”. She is a Results Certified Coach, has a double degree in Psychology and Integrated Marketing Communications.
Fundador of Fundación Ana Bella. After 11 years of being abused by her husband, Ana Bella managed to escape and raise a family of four children. In the process of separation and through interaction with other women in similar situations, she realized the potential within women who had overcome similar dreadful life situations.
During her breaking away process, Ana Bella also found that the empathy of people directly involved in the problem of gender violence (victims themselves, family, and friends) was a key to help women who needed support. She began to meet informally with women to support each other and find ways to offer help to others. In particular, Ana Bella remembers the first woman she worked with: Leticia, from Cuba. Together with Leticia she consolidated the idea that women leaving abuse can become excellent multipliers of support. In Ana Bella’s words, “I just helped Leticia, but Leticia then helped 30 other women on her own!”
To bring her work into a more systematized structure, Ana Bella launched a foundation in 2006. Since then, she has provided resources and support to women on the path to breaking free from their abuser. Although she had opportunities to move away from this professional field and build another life, she decided to continue working with battered women. Ana Bella is determined to transform how women leaving their abusers are supported by focusing on their abilities rather than only seeing the ailments that have produced the situation. Today she is an Ashoka Entrepreneur.
Co founder and Director of Ellas 2.0. Patricia Araque describes herself as a full-time entrepreneur in constant transition. She is Co-Founder and Director of Ellas 2.0, a platform that seeks to increase the number of female technology-based ventures, and carries the message of Women 2.0 to Spanish-speaking communities. It also coordinates off-line operations of Women 2.0 in Spain and Latin America. As she says, none of these projects is passionate both as Alma, his daughter, the best start-up that her partner and she have co-founded together.
Degree in Advertising and Public Relations from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, in 2004 she decided to leave the world of press offices and marketing departments. She started working at Watchtower Training, an English school that over the years has allowed nearly thousand girls and kids between 3 and 17 years to learn the potential of the English language as a communication tool, and has shown them that there is a big world beyond the small town of Madrid in which they are growing. Passionate about education, she also devotes her time to build Corner Class, an app that aims at changing the way in which families are involved in the educational process of their children.
Patricia believes that women and technology will be able to change the world, balancing it and making it the right place it should be.
Founder of b-Fit . Bedriye Hülya is a rare serial woman entrepreneur from Turkey who crossed over to the social side at the age of 42. In her previous life, Bedriye started-up and managed gift store chains, textile ateliers and export companies and struggled to exist in the business life as a woman in Turkey. In 2006, she established b-Fit, a sport and living center of women, which uses a unique model combining access to sports and entrepreneurship as vehicles to promote gender equality and empowerment of women and girls in Turkey. Its mission: to get women of all ages and incomes adopt the habit of working out, to support women entrepreneurship, to provide employment for women and to help women increase their awareness of their lives and environment.
Co-owned, franchised, managed and used only by women, the b-Fit model combines a gym with a community center and has served over 80.000 women in 200 centers across Turkey.
PIN-ED Progresso Infantil. Teresa Pereira was born in Lisbon after the April Revolution, in a country beginning its European adhesion. Those were Portugal’s international steps after the Descobrimentos age, when we reached India and settled an entire new world geographic map. Teresa grew up between Portugal and South Africa, in the last years of Apartheid, a fact that influenced her vision and passion about “others”. She has a Bachelor in Special Education and is now pursuing her second degree in Psychology. Besides being part of TIAGW, Teresa is working on other entrepreneurship projects such as TEDXYouth and CADIn (Center For Child Development – www.cadin.net). She chooses to work with teams as families, investing in a meaningful activity everyday. Likes troubles, struggles, schools, adults, “little people” and new ways of thinking about them. Her passions are about ADHD, new technologies, social networks and the value of time. 45 people created, 2 months ago, a new center called PIN – Progresso Infantil. She now manages a new team specialized in schools on PIN-ED,, returning to school on a daily basis in search of new ways of working and approaching challenges that everyone feels as an extra pressure these days. She sees everyone as an added value, any challenge as an opportunity in disguise, keeping one goal in mind: always be better than yesterday.
Partner and founder of Focus on Women. is the first women-centered travel agency in Spain. Focus on Women showcases each destination through the women that live there while promoting women empowerment.
After finishing her studies in Lyrical Singing and Economics, Alice specialized in international relations in the Arab World and Development. She has spent most of her career in the development banking sector, in the educational sector and multilateral institutions, and discovering new cultures through her travels. Alice has a Master’s degree in International Relations, PhD in Economics and International Relations and Executive MBA from Instituto de Empress (IE), for which the Lead Program of the Community of Madrid awarded her a scholarship. She has worked as a professor of internationalization in various business schools, has lived in several countries and has also been a development worker in projects abroad. Since 2008, Alice has served as a mentor to several programs for high-potential women to advance their careers. Her own enterprise and her role as an advisor to other tourism projects has closely linked her to the world of tourism. Alice also gives lectures on Entrepreneurship; writes for several blogs about innovation, diversity and travel; and belongs to several communities of social entrepreneurs, like the HUB Madrid. Her mantras are Carpe Diem and follow your dreams.
Coordinator of the Res’Art network of Algerian craftswomen
After graduating in geological engineering at the university of Algiers, Maya Azeggagh started her career as a painter and as a project leader in the associative field, in particular dealing with craftswomen empowerment and with the Rights of women in Algeria. From 1998 to 2003, she managed the “Art and culture” association, and later she coordinated a training for Young Algerian female leaders, a sensitization caravan “Algerian women and children for development” and trainings on communication techniques within the associative framework. She is a very active member of the association “Femmes en communication”, and since 2006 she coordinates the Res’Art network of Algerian craftswomen.
Res’Art aims at connecting and empowering Algerian women working in the craft industry, as well as craftswomen associations from all over the country. In order to promote and to innovate the Algerian craft sector, Res’Art has developed a new Algerian prêt à porter style, which puts together the traditional elements of the national handicraft and the actual fashion. Training sessions are organized for Algerian craftswomen to improve their skills in the craft techniques and to strengthen their capacities in marketing, exposition techniques and Fair Trade accounting. Res’Art also supports collective selling strategies and promotes the “peer education”. Since 2008, more than 220 craftswomen and 22 associations from all over Algeria have been trained in 15 Algerian regions.
Founder of DREAM-Acacias for All / Co-Founder of TCSE - Tunisian Center for Social Entrepreneurship.
Aged 24, Sarah Toumi has been involved in the associative life since she was a young girl. Indignation pushed her to act since her childhood, when she saw the effects of the embargo in Iraq during family travels there, or she witnessed how her female cousins had a reduced access to education, under the pretext of preserving the family’s ‘honour’.This girl, that believes that she has her word to say, finds herself in a society where she is asked to shut her mouth : this is the beginning of a fight that she is leading until now to empower women.
Sarah won the "Ashoka Youth - Changemakers" prize for her project ‘Acacias for All’, which fights desertification, poverty and gender inequality in Tunisia. Today 483 women are involved in this project which aims at helping Tunisian women from rural poor areas to plant acacias from Senegal and Moringa in order to fight against the effects of desertification. At the same time, these women can have additional revenues through the selling the Arabic gum produced by these trees, as well as technical training and financial support for the creation of cooperatives in each village concerned.
Meanwhile, Sarah has created DREAM, an incubator for social, environmental and solidarity projects for Parisian students. This incubator accompanies and puts in contact young social entrepreneurs and volunteers who want to offer their skills for a better society.
Ibn Al-Baytar association / Mohammed V University
Zoubida Charrouf is a professor at the faculty of Science in the Mohammed V-Agdal University. Since 35 years she teaches at the Chemistry department and she does research in medicinal plants, studying their use in cosmetics and functional food. Professor Charrouf also works to develop income generating activities with the medicinal plants, for women in the Moroccan rural environment. She contributed to the foundation of the first Moroccan women cooperatives for Argan oil production and selling, to the organization of the Argan oil processing and to its recognition as a PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) product. Professor Charrouf is the author of more than 100 publications on the Argan tree and on its by-products. She is the president of the Ibn Al-Baytar association and of Slow Food in Morocco. She is a member of the board of directors in the CIRAD (Center for the international cooperation in agronomy research for the development) and in the BDA (Biotechnology and Sustainable Development in Africa) in Canada. Her work for the promotion of the Argan oil, for the development of its processing and for the empowerment of the Moroccan women in rural areas has been awarded with many international prizes, by the Mohammed V Foundation, the “Parmigiano Reggiano” Consortium, the “Fondation du Sud”, the Hassan II academy for sciences and techniques, the Islamic Bank for Development and many other national and international institutions.
Fida is a doctor of philosophy in political science from the university of Vienna (Universität Wien) and now is teaching at Birzeit University (BZU). She is a graduate and a scholar with multidisciplinary academic background, among which, three Masters in human rights from Central European University (CEU)/ Budapest, Public administration and a gradute certificate in gender studies from the University of Southern California (USC)/ Los Angeles, and Educational Administration from An- Najah University/ Nablus and BA in Social Service from Al- Quds University/ East Jerusalem.
Fida has enjoyed a 15-years rich professional experience, respectively, as the Director of the Gender Equity Program at CARE International in the West Bank and Gaza (CARE WBG), Director of AFSC- Quakers Palestine Youth Project, UNDP Local Gender Specialist, Middle East Nonviolence and Democracy-Choose a Future Project Coordinator, Save the Children-GGLS Coordinator and UNRWA- Welfare Worker North WB.
In enabling Palestinian women to excercise their life choices and reach their full potential, Fida has placed human rights at the centre of her work, provided coherent leadership in fighting all forms of oppression against refugees, children and women, built strategic partnerships with like- minded inter- national actors,and translated her commitment to gender equity into actions and day today efforts locally and throughout the region