Muna Abbas is Head of Mission for Plan International in Jordan, which supports early development and access to quality education for vulnerable children. She oversees the design and implementation of humanitarian and development programs focused on education, children’s rights, child protection, ECD, girls’ rights and women’s empowerment.
Abbas has been involved in child advocacy for twenty years; prior to her current job, she held management positions at United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) and Save the Children.
Rana Dajani has developed a community-based model to encourage children to read for pleasure, We Love Reading (WLR). Based in Jordan, WLR has spread to more than 30 countries across the globe and has received numerous honors, including the 2009 Synergos award for Arab world social innovators, membership to the Clinton Global Initiative in 2010, the Library of Congress Literary Award for Best Practices in 2013, the 2014 WISE Qatar Award, the 2014 King Hussein Medal of Honor, a 2015 honor for the 50 Most Talented Social Innovators at the World CSR Congress, the 2015 OpenIDEO top idea for refugee education and a 2015 Star Award for education impact.
Dajani has been an Eisenhower fellow, a two-time Fulbright alumnus, an Associate Professor and Director of the center of studies at the Hashemite University in Jordan, a visiting professor at the Yale Stem Cell Center, a visiting scholar at the University of Cambridge and a visiting professor at the Stem Cell Therapy center in Jordan. Her lab is comprised of world experts on the genetics of Circassian and Chechan populations in Jordan, focusing on diabetes and cancer. Dajani spearheaded the effort to establish a law for stem cell research ethics in Jordan, and is a strong advocate for the theory of biological evolution and of its compatibility with Islam.
Dajani is a consultant to the higher council for science and technology in Jordan. She has written in Science and Nature about women and science in the Arab world, and is on the UN Women Jordan advisory council. She has established a network for women mentors and mentees and received the PEER Award for the model Three Circles of Alemat. In 2014, she was chosen as one of the 20 most influential women scientists in the Islamic world, and in 2015, among the 100 most powerful women in the Arab world and elected to the women in science hall of fame. She was awarded the King Hussein Cancer & Biotechnology Institute award in 2009, and the 2017 Global Change maker Award from IIE/Fulbright.
She has a Ph.D. in molecular biology from the University of Iowa.