Civil Society Leaders Programme

The Civil Society Leaders Programme will bring together emerging civil society leaders from the Syrian, Palestinian and Lebanese communities.

The programme will introduce them to working together, in a fresh and exciting way, to develop innovative ideas to tackle common challenges. The programme will be run by Common Purpose working with the Asfari Foundation and the Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship at AUB.

Anas Darkaoui , Programme Manager Asfari Foundation

“This is a brilliant leadership programme. It enables people from diverse backgrounds to work together to tackle common challenges.”

Why take part?

The experience will help participants to:

  • stretch their analytical and creative skills by exposing them to a new approach to innovation;
  • develop their Cultural Intelligence, the ability to cross boundaries and thrive in multiple cultures, by throwing them into a difficult task with a diverse group
  • enhance their ability to Lead Beyond Authority – to lead in situations where they have no formal authority, key for civil society leaders
  • build new networks, by giving them access to participants and contributors they might otherwise never meet
  • develop new ideas and approaches to increase their impact beyond the programme

Eman Al Sabah , Participant Common Purpose Itijah programme 2014

“This experience has been thrilling... The outcome is beyond expectations.”

How does it work?

The programme focuses on a Challenge.

Over four days participants are guided through a process of creativity and innovation, to explore the challenge through every possible angle – visiting organizations and meeting leaders with knowledge of development and social innovation.

Participants will develop ideas in response to the challenge, which they present to a panel of senior leaders. They then work on their ideas individually and collectively, building long-lasting connections and developing projects that can be prototyped after the programme.

The Asfari Foundation 

The Asfari Foundation is a young and energetic British grant making charity set up and funded by Sawsan and Ayman Asfari. We believe in young people. We know that, empowered by a good education and opportunities, young people can create very positive change in their communities and the world at large. Our vision is for a world in which young people actively work together to create productive, inclusive and just societies.

The Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship

Based at the prestigious American University of Beirut, The Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship is the first research center bridging academia and activism. Focusing on analyzing, documenting and training social movements and NGO activists, the institute aims at consolidating Civil Society initiatives locally and regionally in the Arab world.

How to apply

Who is it for? 
We invite applications from exceptional emerging civil society leaders from the Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian communities in Lebanon. 



When and where?
We are planning to deliver the next programme in September 2019, in Beirut. To find out more, please contact

The programme will be run in Arabic.