Lecture: Rima Karami-Akkary

Nov 6, 2019 9:00 AM

November 6, 9:00am
Ruffner Hall 302
Curry School of Education & Human Development

The TAMAM Initiative: University-School Partnerships to Reform Education in the Arab Region:


Well-intentioned efforts at educational reform throughout the Arab region have often failed to translate into improved learning experiences that prepare Arab students for the economic, social and political challenges that await them after graduation. For various reasons, the educational system reproduces graduates who are either disengaged citizens, angry rebels apt to cause destruction, and/or potential immigrants longing to leave their society behind.

The TAMAM Project emphasizes the use of emancipatory collaborative action research as a methodology to design contextually grounded capacity building strategies that enhance the ability of all stakeholders to effectively initiative, design, and implement school-based innovation initiatives that respond to contextualized needs of school partners. Rather, it attempts to challenge and transform the existing paradigmatic and systemic arrangements that generate barriers to sustainable school improvement and educational reform. While leading international research informs TAMAM’s design approach, the project goes beyond introducing these practices to Arab schools by considering their unique contexts.

TAMAM is a joint research and development initiative launched through a memorandum of understanding between the Arab Thought Foundation and the American University of Beirut to initiate school-based reform and research on how to build leadership capacity for sustainable school-based improvement. The project is funded by the Arab Thought Foundation, LORE Foundation, and Taawon Association and currently has 67 school partners across Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Oman, Sudan, and Qatar, as well as Palestinian camps.

This presentation will outline the journey of the project steering team highlighting the aspects of the design that exemplify this paradigm shift, providing glimpses of the success stories as well as the challenges faced. The project’s vision and strategic goals for the current fourth phase will also be shared presenting TAMAM as a promising approach that can inform policy makers and international donors agencies as they lead large scale initiatives in the Arab region.


Rima Karami-Akkary is an Associate Professor of Educational Administration, Policy and Leadership in the Department of Education at the American University of Beirut. Her research mainly focuses on understanding the current practices of school leaders and designing approaches to build capacity among them to lead school improvement initiatives. Dr. Karami-Akkary is the director and the principal investigator of the TAMAM project. She holds a Bachelor in Science, Diploma for teaching science at the secondary level, and Master of Arts in Science Education from the American University of Beirut (AUB), and a Doctorate in Education from Portland State University with a specialty in [K-12] Educational Administration and Supervision with a focus on school principalship and organizational change.