Nisreen Haj Ahmad of Jordan was our first leader to be featured as part of our new storytelling series Faces of Change in 2019.

Marshall Ganz sat down with Nisreen to explore her journey to leadership — from a young girl forced to leave Palestine with her family, to returning years later to advise the Palestinian team on peace negotiations with Israel and then discovering the power of organizing and committing herself to building new civic leadership across the Middle East.

You can stream on your favorite platforms:

Apple Podcasts
Google Podcasts

Nisreen joined us for an online Faces of Change Live event on 30th October 2019 to show the impact of her and her organization’s leadership and organizing in the Middle East and how they are achieving it. Check it out here!

More about Nisreen:

For the past ten years, Nisreen Haj Ahmad has invested herself in enhancing organized collective action for justice and equality.

In 2012, she co-founded and became director of, a nonprofit that coached 16 campaigns and trained over two thousand people in organizing in the Middle East, namely Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon and Syria.

She was also involved in supporting the organizing of the BDS Movement and together with other women started its chapter in Jordan.

Nisreen is committed to creating learning and solidarity spaces that inform and sustain leaders and activists around the world.

In 2012, she coordinated the Leading Change Global Gathering, bringing together more than a hundred organizers from around the world, and in 2014 organized a similar gathering of the Network’s Affiliates in Serbia. Nisreen is an advisory board member of Beautiful Rising.

Trained as a lawyer, Nisreen obtained a law degree from the University of Jordan (1995), Masters in Law from Edinburgh University (1997), Masters in Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School (2007), and most recently finished a research fellowship at the Ash Center at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS).

With Professor Marshall Ganz, Nisreen taught “Social Movements Today: Critical Questions for Critical Times” in the Spring semester of 2017 at HKS.

She has produced several publications, including a documentation of Stand with the Teachers Campaign for fair pay, published by the International Labour Organization, and her work is the subject of a Harvard case study.

Before entering the world of community leadership and organizing in 2007, Nisreen spent 6 years working as a legal advisor for the Palestinian team in the peace talks with Israel.

Photo by Salah Malkawi | 2019