Sami Hourani

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2014


This profile was prepared when Sami Hourani was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2014.
The New Idea
Sami is a pioneer in the Arab world, working to break the vicious cycle of elitism and nepotism in young people’s accessibility to education, skills development, and civic engagement opportunities. Within a context where youth are passive or apathetic towards the social and political scenes and, while opportunities for personal, educational, economic and civic engagement are only circulated within closed circles of the privileged, Sami is creating a shift in the norms by introducing a new way for youth to counter this disempowering trend and become an active, educated, and motivated generation.
Moreover, by opening circles and transforming the idea that opportunities are only for the royal elite of a country or society, Sami is fostering a culture of sharing opportunities in a very egalitarian way. His work demonstrates that sharing opportunities with others, whether they be access to jobs, education, trainings, scholarships, etc. doesn’t have to increase competition but rather can open more doors for oneself. This new culture of sharing is building an active, aware, and engaged citizenship, permeating all levels of society.
Through Sami’s work youth are engaged in a series of initiatives including roleplaying for social change, finding and sharing opportunities, capacity building trainings, and creative public speaking forums. These initiatives encourage all Jordanian youth to be active problem-solvers in their communities and engaged citizens.
Sami is committed to engaging youth in an open, transparent, credible and fair manner irrespective of their backgrounds, genders, ethnicities, political ideologies or socio-economic status. His work has reached a large spread throughout Jordan and Sami will continue to scale throughout the Levant region and the rest of the Arab world.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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