The WISE Awards

Dr. Iman Bibars

Position: Vice-President of Ashoka, Regional Director of Ashoka Arab
Country: Egypt
With an international career spanning from UNICEF to Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and the World Bank, Dr. Iman Bibars is a globally revered social development expert. 

Currently, Dr. Bibars serves as a Vice President at Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, a global organization that accelerates social change by identifying and investing in leading social entrepreneurs. In 2003 she established the Arab regional office, electing more than 40 Ashoka Fellows to date, and expanding the office's work to cover Morocco, Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, and the Palestinian Territories. Additionally, she is a co-founder and chairwoman of the Association for the Development and Enhancement of Women (ADEW), an organization that provides credit and legal aid for impoverished female heads of household. With ADEW, Dr. Bibars effectively changed the Egyptian Nationality Law, placed female heads of household and their legal existence on the national agenda, while also saving street vendors, dwellers in squatter areas, and tanners from government prosecution. 

In 1981 she received her BA in Political Science (Summa Cum Laude) from the American University in Cairo (AUC). She then studied as a Peace Fellow at Georgetown University's Center of Contemporary Arab Studies Program with a focus on international affairs, political economy and social development in the Middle East. Following her studies at Georgetown, from 1987-1988 she was a Parvin Fellow at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs with a focus on management, finance, economic development, and resource mobilization. Dr. Bibars returned to the AUC in 1988 to obtain her masters in political science, and then in 1999, earned her Ph.D. from the Institute of Development Studies at Sussex University, UK. 

She, along with Ashoka Arab World, is a member of the Clinton Global Initiative, and recently has published the first book written in Arabic on US President Barak Obama.