American University of Beirut

The SAWI Project

​​​​​The SAWI Phase I Project (2019-2023)

The SAWI Project Phase I (2019-2023) was launched and housed at the Suliman S. Olayan School of Business and was made possible through a generous grant from the Middle East Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) at the U.S. Department. SAWI stands for Supporting and Accelerating Women’s Inclusion in MENA workplace. Its primary aim is to work directly with a network of select local employers to develop, improve, and implement inclusive human resource (HR) policies and practices for the better recruitment, retention, and promotion of women. The sector focus of the SAWI project is specifically on higher education, STEM, healthcare, and banking across eight countries - Tunisia, Algeria, Bahrain, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Iraq, and Libya.


The Phase I of the SAWI Project has three primary objectives:

1. Map the existing employer recruitment, retention, and promotion policies relating to women across the Arab region. 

2. Partner with Arab employers to craft and implement concrete action plans for responsible inclusion of women in the workplace. 

3. Build a regional network of economic stakeholders and Arab MENA employers committed to improving women's economic inclusion through dignified work. 

The core work of SAWI focuses on strengthening the capacity of HR managers, and other organizational decision-makers, to implement more gender-inclusive policies and practices across the formal economies of the region.


In partnership with eight country partners namely Apotheox in Algeria, Warsha in Bahrain, Women Empowerment Organization (WEO)  in Iraq, The Business and Professional Women Association-Amman (BPWA) in Jordan, Lebanese League for Women in Business (LLWB) in Lebanon, The University of Benghazi in Libya, Economia in Morocco, and Center Democracy for All in Tunisia, the project focused on mobilizing employers in the formal sector to increase awareness around the shared responsibility of women’s economic inclusion and around the broader nature of women’s contributions to formal sector employers.

The output from Phase I of the SAWI Project was substantive, namely as listed below:


The SAWI project was made possible through generous funding of the US State Department and the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI).​


Our milestones have been made possible thanks to the partners we have worked with in eight countries (Algeria, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia)These partnerships are critical to the building and delivery of an inclusive culture in the region.


This project is led by:
Dr. Charlotte Karam Ph.D. - Principal Investigator - Director of International Partnerships, and Founding Director (2018-2021), CIBL for Women and Adjunct Professor | Endowed Professor in Inclusive Systems, Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa.
> Dr. Lama Moussawi Ph.D. - Principal Investigator - CIBL Co-founder - ​CIBL Director, Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development, Tenured Professor of Management Science | American University of Beirut(AUB)-  Suliman S. Olayan School of Business (OSB).
> ​Dr. Wassim Dbouk ​Ph.D. - Co-Principal Investigator - CIBL Co-founder, Associate Professor of Finance, Director of the Investment Management Program at OSB ​| American University of Beirut(AUB)-  Suliman S. Olayan School of Business (OSB).
>​ ​Dr. Carmen Geha Ph.D. - Co-Principal Investigator - CIBL Co-founder, Associate Professor of Public Administration​ ​| American University of Beirut(AUB).

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