Topics: Education
Science and Technology
Regional focus: Middle East and North Africa
Origin: Jordan
Fellowship: Richard von Weizs├Ącker Fellow

Rana Dajani is a molecular biologist, social entrepreneur, and global thought leader. She is the founder of We Love Reading, a grassroots initiative to create changemakers in underserved communities by fostering a lifelong love of reading. A recipient of the UNESCO International Literacy Prize, We Love Reading has established more than 8000 locally run libraries in over 60 countries.

Dajani is a professor of molecular biology at the Hashemite University in Jordan. She is also visiting professor at MIT and a Morse Yale fellow. Her area of expertise is epigenetics and biomarkers of trauma among refugees and genetics of ethnic populations. Through her leadership she has introduced national and regional stem cell laws and presided over numerous scientific boards and United Nations councils most recently as the President of the Society for the Advancement of Science and Technology in the Arab World.

Dajani has also been recognized as a Fulbright fellow, Eisenhower fellow and Ashoka fellow. She was listed as of the 100 most influential Arab Women, received the Jacobs social entrepreneur award, Nansen UNHCR refugee award, and the Schwab Social Entrepreneur Award.

She is a tireless supporter of building indigenous research capabilities in the developing world, and creating a mentoring program to support women scholars in STEM that was recognized by the National Academy of Sciences. Her 2018 book "Five Scarves Doing the Impossible If We Can Reverse Cell Fate Why Can't We Redefine Success" challenged global policy makers to address ongoing inequities in education and employment while also putting forward a new paradigm for measuring success in an evolving world.

Last updated: 2023