Soraya Salti took over a floundering educational non-governmental organization program in Jordan — INJAZ — in 2001 and turned it into a national entity that now reaches hundreds of thousands of students a year. Raising her sights to the regional level in 2004, she has since led the expansion of INJAZ. As Senior Vice-President of Middle East/North Africa for Junior Achievement Worldwide, and Regional Director of INJAZ Al-Arab, Soraya Salti has spent more than a decade mobilizing the private sector and ministries of education in the Arab world to join forces in creating a new generation of business-minded youth. Prior to joining INJAZ Al-Arab, Salti worked for two years at Jordan’s Ministry of Planning on the Innovative Competitiveness Team, assisting Harvard’s Michael Porter in applying his model for economic development. Salti has received several awards, including the Henry Kravis Prize in Nonprofit Leadership, Schwab Social Entrepreneur of the Year, and World Economic Forum Young Global Leader.
IMPACT AS OF JAN. 2013:
- INJAZ al-Arab has reached more than 500,000 Arab youth in 14 countries, making significant strides in spreading a culture of entrepreneurism, financial literacy and work readiness throughout the Middle East and North Africa, where the world’s highest youth unemployment has become an intractable issue with serious repercussions.
- From Injaz al-Arab’s current presence in 716 schools, Salti aims to scale the successful model further in order to reach one million youth on an annual basis – a welcome development in a region where 100 million graduates are expected to enter the labor market in the next 15 years.
- At the 2009 Annual Battle for the Best Arab Student Company, a team of young girls from a rural Omani public high school won both the best Student Company and Student CEO of the Year, becoming an inspiration for Arab women and demonstrating to the region the opportunities missed by having the lowest female labor market participation in the world.
- INJAZ al-Arab has become a “thought leader” in a region where 72% of private sector CEOs now express a desire to improve the quality of education and the ability of students to transition from the classroom to the workplace. INJAZ’s pioneering public-private partnerships have brought over 21,000 corporate volunteers into public school classrooms and encouraged 14 Ministries of Education to seek innovative solutions through partnership to address the skills gap Arab graduates face.
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