Ahmad Edilbi

Ashoka Fellow
ON, Canada
Fellow Since 2014


This profile was prepared when Ahmad Edilbi was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2014.
The New Idea
Ahmad is reversing the situation for refugees from being in a state of total helplessness and disempowerment to one of empowerment and productivity through harnessing and building social capital, connectivity, trust, willingness to share, and empathy. He is changing post-conflict communities from an individualistic mentality focusing only on survival to one that is fostering supportive relations based on solidarity.

Focusing on the current post-conflict Syrian refugee community and diaspora around the world, Ahmad is creating a complex network of individuals, connected to regional hubs and to each other, who recognize their own capital and talent and have a will to help their peers. Instead of traditional aid to refugee communities that only provide short-term solutions and prolong dependency, Ahmad’s work creates a cycle of support between diaspora and refugees and fosters long-term empowerment. Using online and offline strategies, he provides real-time support and solutions to connect Syrian refugees with housing, employment, education, legal advice, investment opportunities, emotional support and a cultural understanding of their host country.

Regaining their self-confidence and becoming financially independent, refugees are able to be active and contributing members of their communities, thus changing the negative perception and stereotype that refugees are a burden and only bring problems to a community. This transition opens the doors for unity, constructive exchange, and channels of mutual support.

Ahmad has plans to replicate his work, which already spans across 36 countries that have large communities of Syrian refugees, to other geographical areas and communities beyond Syrians that have suffered from post-disaster displacement.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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