Dr. Rouba Mhaissen


Sawa for Development and Aid Syria, Lebanon

Dr. Rouba Mhaissen is ​a Syrian-Lebanese economist, activist, community mobiliser, and development practitioner who works on development issues in the MENA region, particularly forced migration and the Syrian refugee crisis. She ​is the Founder and Director of Sawa for Development and Aid​ (founded in 2011)​, a non-profit organization that supports Syrian refugees​ in Lebanon​, and Sawa Foundation UK, that supports forced migrants in Europe and the Middle East​. She received her B.​A. in Economics from ​the ​American ​U​niversity of ​B​eirut​​, her MSc ​in Development ​from the London School of Economics, and an MPhil/PhD in Gender and​ Economic​ Development from the School of Oriental and African Studies.​ ​She​ also​ holds two degrees in exponential technologies from Singularity University​​ (Silicon Valley). Dr. Mhaissen has worked as a freelance consultant​ and​ a researcher​/teaching fellow​ in a range of issues pertaining to education, violence, conflict, activism, and forced migration, among others. ​She has been involved in grassroots campaigning and high level lobbying/advocacy in major international conferences, with governments and international bodies on the issue of forced migration and human rights. She is the recipient of numerous awards, scholarships and grants recognizing her work, and has been nominated as a Forbes 30 Under 30 for Policy and Law.


Rouba was selected as a 2019 Global Leadership Award Honoree and a VVLead Fellow. 

Learn more about Rouba’s work with her 2019 Global Leadership Awards Film.