Abdallah Gad Abdelwahab (Egypt): democracy activist, expert in countering extremism, currently MA student at Geneva Academy.

We need a world where we know one another,
and transcend the dichotomy of ‘me’ versus the ‘other’,
a world where empathy, compassion, and post-heroic leadership
are not just considered admirable but doomed values,
but seen as necessary and essential for the progress of our human race

My Motivation
Theater of Transformation made realize that there are many possibilities to enact transformation, of which art and culture are a huge part. A culture of violence can be transformed into a one of peace. Testimonies, narrative and art more generally don’t exist in a vacuum – they exist for something and for someone.

Theatre of Transformation Academy has inspired me to be part of a movement that tackles transformation in a not-necessarily-conventional, yet highly impactful way.

My Intended Impact
The social impact I wish to have as a Steward of Theatre of Transformation Academy is bring art and culture to the forefront in tackling the most weighty social causes, particularly countering the radicalization of youth and the integration of refugees. Drawing on my experience across the Middle East and Africa in countering violent extremism, I plan to develop effective ways to use testimonies, story telling and movement/dance as vehicles of transformation and integration for these marginalized individuals and groups.

The academic contribution I seek to make as a Fellow of Enacting Global Transformation at the University of Oxford’s Centre for International Studies is to analyze critically the power of testimonies in bringing about change, shaping social discourse, and fostering a culture of peace. Through my research, I wish to develop a specific methodology for how testimonies and movement/dance can be used to integrate radicalized youth and refugees, which could be replicated in social programming and policy making initiatives.

Through this dual impact, I seek to contribute more generally to the peaceful co-existence and conflict transformation that we urgently need in my region and in all parts of our world today.

This is how I intend to fulfill my vision of transformation of transcending the dichotomy of ‘me’ versus the ‘other’, and fostering empathy and post-heroic leadership for human progress.

Abdallah is an Egyptian Social Justice Activist. He is an experienced practitioner in Preventing Violent Extremism, having worked in this area across The Middle East and Africa for a global initiative run by the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and UNDP.

He is a transitional justice researcher and is currently completing his MA in this topic at the Geneva Academy for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.

He is a social entrepreneur who started two highly impactful non-profit organizations in his home town, Ismailia, ELAF Mirco-Finance Initiative and Alashanek ya Balady for Sustainable Development (Ismailia), which according to the laetst UNDP Human Development Report raised the city in the top five in the Human Development Index in Egypt.

Abdallah was a social justice activist during the Tahrir square uprising, a time that shaped and further amplified his passion for social transformation and justice, whether through peaceful organizing or policy-based work.

From Tahrir and social justice advocacy, to policy making spheres, to the international arena, Abdallah has advocated for and advanced different social causes, including fighting the stigma of mental health, economic empowerment especially for women, and different peace and conflict resolution initiatives.

Abdallah is also passionate about the role of culture, art and creativity to break the silence of injustice and to liberate the full potential of human development. He incorporates theatre and dance in his social justice, social entrepreneurship and development work.

Abdallah has received numerous fellowships, and has pursued his higher education at the American University of Cairo, the University of Chicago, and the Geneva Academy of the Graduate Institute and University of Geneva.

He was awarded the Dalai Lama Fellowship in 2012-2013 for his unique development initiatives and ethical leadership efforts.

Based on his leadership skills and intellectual abilities, he was selected to be a Fellow of the ‘Enacting Global Transformation’ Collaborative Initiative at the University of Oxford’s Centre for International Studies, and an Emerging Leader of the ‘Leadership for the Future’ programme of the Theatre of Transformation Academy.