Every human has potential. But every human needs trust and confidence to fulfil it.
In JP’s latest Positive Leadership podcast, he is joined by Dr. Rana Dajani, a world leading research scientist and founder of We Love Reading, an NGO which has established more than 4,000 libraries across the world.
Rana’s mission is to embody what she calls, the “I can” mindset, through the power of reading, to ensure everyone thrives, not just survives.
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Jean-Phillippe Courtois: I’m Jean-Phillippe Courtois, JP. This is Positive Leadership, the podcast that helps you grow as an individual, a leader, and ultimately, as a global citizen.
Rana Dajani: When children read for fun, they learn vocabulary, which helps them express their emotions and their thoughts that are inside their brains. They learn about other cultures and communities, and this builds in them empathy and understanding of others, even if they disagree. And thirdly, you read about the heroes and heroines, and so you draw the confidence and the courage to be the hero yourself.
Jean-Phillippe Courtois: One of the questions that I'm often asked is how to instil an “I can” mindset so that people can take control of their lives, futures, and communities, and develop solutions to the problems that they face. Right on that journey, my guest today has developed a simple and effective way to do just that, by fostering a love of reading in kids. Rana is one of the world's leading Muslim women scientists, professor of molecular biology at the Hashemite University of Jordan, she's pondering research into the impact of trauma across generations. She's also the founder of the NGO, We Love Reading, which has set up more than 4,000 libraries in a diverse range of communities, including refugee camps. I was really excited to have her on the podcast to find out more about how she's driving change at the local level.
I think you come from a big family, eight siblings, and you are the eldest in the family, so you had a formative experience of leadership, I could imagine that. I'd like to start off by asking you about those early years, and the feeling of responsibility you have today. I read a quote where you said, “Everyone is a guardian, what counts is to try. Every little deed counts.” So, tell me more about that idea, where it comes from, and why it's so important to you, Rana.
Rana Dajani: Well, that's a combination of actually two quotes, from Prophet Muhammad. And the first one is about everyone is a guardian. So we are all responsible, not just for ourselves, but for our circle around us. That starts with your family, your neighbourhood, and your wider community, and that we need to have that sense of belonging, and sense of responsibility, to identify the problems around us and come up with solutions to solve them. The second part of this is you may identify a problem, and that's easy. All of us identify problems all the time and we complain. But not all of us take the next step, which is coming up with a solution and executing it. And that's where the second quote comes in, which is that, “do not belittle any good deed”. It's about starting small. You don't have to worry about changing the world. You don't have to think, oh my God, this is too much, it's overwhelming. Just think, what can I do today? And I think I grew up in a family where those principles and values were practiced, not just preached, from both my mother and my father. And I think that spilled over into my everyday life, within my wider community, and the different circles I've been working in over the years.
Jean-Phillippe Courtois: I love that philosophy, Rana. In many ways, it connects well with the full circle of positive leadership when we think about the way we can change the world. And I think like you, because when I talk to kids, youth in particular, sometimes they are very much intimidated by the huge challenges facing the world. Whatever it is, in terms of war, in terms of poverty, in terms of environment, climate change, and more, and they forget about the little things they can actually do every single day of their lives. So, I love it because I think that's so important in terms of day-to-day behaviours. I think you have a very deep Muslim faith, and also a passion for science that motivates you to study to become a scientist, even after being married and having four children. So how have those two co-aspects shaped your outlook and who you are, Rana?
Rana Dajani: Maybe starting with science, I grew up in a household where we were encouraged to ask questions and to be curious. So I think that is what led me to become a scientist, to push the boundaries of discovery and the unknown. I would have loved maybe to be a discoverer, go out to space, but that wasn't something I could do, so I could at least go into a cell and try to understand how the molecules, the DNA works, or the proteins interact and be on that frontier, so to speak. Now, how do I balance that with being a mother? So I did not get the chance to pursue being a scientist and get my Ph.D. early on, according to the traditional pathway. So actually, after I finished college because there were no Ph.D. programs in Jordan, I became a schoolteacher for 10 years, and I got married and had my four children. And I think those 10 years were so important, retrospectively, in shaping how I understand education, how I understand the other important rules that we don't, unfortunately, highlight when we talk about careers. We don't talk about being a parent, whether you're a mother or a father, although that is the most important rule any human being can do. And so, to me, having that balance between those different roles and not just separating, but actually interweaving them together. So, when I'm in the lab, I bring in my kids, they know everything I do, they understand all the research, and actually, they're very smart when you think about it. They're full of curiosity. So, I share with them my data and ask them, what do you think? And they give me very insightful and wise comments. But at the same time, this not only enriches my science, but it also allows my children to be part of my life, and to inspire them and to be a role model to them. And when I'm in my lab, they think, oh, so Mama's using our hypotheses in her research. So, this is important to involve your family, and for it to be a holistic approach in your life, and not to separate your life. Because you need their support in the end, and their inspiration.
Jean-Phillippe Courtois: What's immediately obvious to me, speaking to Rana, is that she's someone with an incredible curiosity. Her mother is from Syria, her father is Palestinian. And because of her background, and because Jordan is a country that has experienced multiple waves of refugees, one thing she's always been interested in is the question of how people's experiences affect them. Not just in terms of their mental health, but in terms of their biology.
Rana Dajani: Is it really impacting their DNA? Is it changing how their DNA is expressed, which genes are turned on and off? And even to ask further the question, can those changes be transferred across generations? And this is the science of epigenetics. And so because of the intimate knowledge of the history and the culture and the connection with the communities involved, I was able to design a very elegant experiment where we could actually compare three generations of women who had been either exposed to trauma in 1980 because of a massacre that happened in Syria, or not exposed, or only the daughter was exposed. And to answer the question, does the impact of trauma on gene expression, can it be really transmitted? Now, this question is still in the making. We're analysing the data as we speak, so stay tuned for next year. However, I want to add here that most studies on the impact of trauma always comes with a negative tone. How does it impact stress and anxiety? And how does it produce the negative effects? And what we want to do different, and what we're doing, is can we look at it in a positive way? So not to celebrate war, actually, we are against war, and we need to address the core reasons for war happening in the first place and hold those accountable for it.
Jean-Phillippe Courtois: Yes.
Rana Dajani: However, dealing with the realities on the ground, can we give back dignity to those people who have gone through this and appreciate how they have survived and thrived? So, look at positive attitudes, well-being, resilience, and what are those programs that can help even boost that more? So that's what we're doing different because I come from that community, and we want to own that and celebrate it.
Jean-Phillippe Courtois: Let's open this chapter of your life, which is all about We Love Reading. I think it started with a homecoming when you returned to Jordan after spending five years abroad studying for your Ph.D. in Molecular Biology, and you saw your country, I think, with new eyes. So explain to us, to our listeners of the podcast, what is it that you noticed, and why you felt this was something you needed to change?
Rana Dajani: When we change environments, we come back, we see things that we appreciate, and we see things that we think, we could change that right? In every culture, in every community, and society. And that's when I noticed, children don't read for fun in Jordan. But then I realized, it's all over the world. It's not even restricted to a particular region, but all over the world, we have sectors of the community where children don't read for fun. They know how to read, they read for purposes of education, or work, or religion, or politics, but not for fun. So I think that's what, let's say, piqued my feeling of responsibility. And then that led to the next question, so how do I help children fall in love with reading? I discovered it's about a role model. It's not about books. It's about having a role model who enjoys reading herself or himself and reads aloud to the children, your own children, or the children around you. And that's what's lacking around the world. That's why our children don't read for fun. So for my own conscience, I thought, I'm going to gather the kids in my own neighbourhood and read aloud to them once a week. At least now I can sleep, whether it's going to work or not, whether I'm going to succeed or not, doesn't matter, but at least I tried. That's where I started. And I gathered the children, and I wanted a public space where all the kids would come. And in my neighbourhood, there's a mosque. And I thought, why don't I read in the mosque? It's a public space, it's got a carpet, a bathroom. And I involved my kids and my husband and the whole community. And in February 2006, I started reading aloud to the children, books in their native language, that's very important, because that's how you fall in love, and from the local culture, and about real people: the child who wants to run away, the child who picks his nose. The kids love that because it reminds them of their imperfections and that's what we need, to be real. And from there, the We Love Reading program evolved and blossomed, and now it's in 65 countries around the world.
Jean-Phillippe Courtois: Rana’s We Love Reading program trains volunteers to read to kids. They call them ambassadors. They can be anybody over the age of 16, man or woman, and it's up to them where the session will take place. It could be a mosque, it could be a church, under a tree, and each session normally lasts about half an hour, that's it. It's a very low-key intervention. Rana was motivated to set up We Love Reading because of a gut instinct. And right from the very beginning, she approached it like a scientist. In the same way, she would do an experiment. As a scientist, Rana was really focused on measuring the impact of We Love Reading, so she invited scholars and scientists from around the world, from Harvard, from Yale, from the University of London, experts in education, psychology, to come and see the program. Their findings are nothing short of incredible.
Rana Dajani: First on the children, we were able to show that the children's executive functions, such as working memory, emotional regulation, all improved, which makes them do better at school, in the long run. We also showed that their emotional perception, after being driven towards the negative because of emotional stress and trauma, especially among refugee children, all improved and became more positive as a result of being engaged with We Love Reading, and especially for those who come from a lower socioeconomic community. And this is important when we design programs, we want to make sure that we have a simple program that can improve the social and economic status of the children in the future by investing early on.
Jean-Phillippe Courtois: And it's not just the kids who are reaping the benefits from the program. The adults who are also reading to the kids, the ambassadors, are transformed as well.
Rana Dajani: Their relational salience with the children they read to, and the community they engage in as a result of their activities, all increased. And this led to their increased feeling of happiness, and their increased well-being, all mediated through a motivation to lead that was triggered by that relationship importance with the children. We also showed that their mental health improved, their resilience increased and their stress and anxiety was reduced. We also looked at the relationship between the parent and the child, driven through the child in the family. And we showed that that relationship all improved between the parent and the child, which resulted in empowerment of both parent and child. Not just for education, but mental health. And maybe one last thing I will say, finally, I've been able to marry my biology with my social entrepreneurship because now we are studying the impact of, We Love Reading on epigenetics, of the children and their parents, to see can that intervention, that low key intervention, really make a difference in their DNA and to sustain it over time.
Jean-Phillippe Courtois: Let's dig more into the details of the way you shared that program. I think it's very interesting, Rana, I found myself. With your scientific mind, as you said, you've been building a program from scratch. And it was an experiment at the beginning, and then it became a program, it became something big and huge. Can you tell us more about the way you thought about the experiment? Was it about, I don't know, testing tests, 15, 20 sessions first, with so many kids, getting feedback, formal, informal, picking the books? There are so many variables as a scientist, you could test on. So how did you shape that experiment to make it more relevant and to test the idea?
Rana Dajani: This was not done by I sat at a table with experts and we designed a fantastic program. No, using the scientific background of mine, I was documenting everything, brainstorming with my kids, the neighbourhood, the people engaged, the parents. It was about trial and error, and that way, the program evolved to address a lot more. My learning from this is, when they're designed by the people who are suffering from it, they know better the solution because they understand better the root cause, but also they build a solution that is sustainable and owned, rather than something coming in from outside, why would I buy into it? And if somebody brought it to me, I would hold them responsible to make it happen, not myself.
Jean-Phillippe Courtois: Thanks so much. I think it's so insightful to learn from the inside, actually. The way you shape such an initiative as an entrepreneur. You could have ignored at the time, what a social entrepreneur was, but actually, you acted as a social entrepreneur. And you did it by basically learning, building the solution with the stakeholders themselves, the people, who are building and shaping the solution by themselves. So after three years, Rana you received a grant which enabled you to create a training program, get business training, and scale up We Love Reading. And as you said today, it has expanded to over 60 countries around the world and more. So I’d love to understand, because myself, I'm also doing some social enterprise work, I'm always fascinated about how do you measure the impact it's having. I’m sure it's not just about the number of kids who attend the sessions. It's not just about the ambassadors who are reading as well, which is important, but it must be probably about the transformational impact that it's having on the lives of the people in the community. So could you share with us one or two examples of wonderful stories of women, moms, or even men, maybe in communities, transformed by We Love Reading and the way that changed their lives and that changed those communities?
Rana Dajani: Absolutely. We have thousands of stories, but I'm going to choose one. So one of them, her name is Asma, she is a Syrian from Daraa, and she moved to Jordan and settled in the Za'atari camp at the beginning of the 2011 crisis in Syria. She had never finished school, married young, which is the tradition in the villages, and she had two children when she came. She had just had a miscarriage, was feeling very down, and not having any hope for the future, not knowing what's going to happen. And this ambiguity, and not knowing what's going to happen, is devastating. Because you don't have control over your future. This was 2014 and I had, for the first time, went to Za’atari to run the training program in Za’atari, where she was, and she attended the training. It was a two-day training. She went home with a bag of books and started implementing the program, running it herself, in the camp. So gathered the children, started reading aloud to them, these wonderful stories from their everyday culture, and slowly, Asma rediscovered herself. Suddenly she had a purpose, an easy purpose. Her husband loved it. He was supporting her, helping her in everything, telling her, I’ll take care of the kids, you go do the reading, giving her tips on how to reach out to the neighbours, to invite their children to come. So it became her family project, but more so, she started having the confidence. As a result of this relationship with the children, and seeing how they look at her, and how the families look at her, to thinking, oh my God. So, she started writing stories for children. She was invited by the local Za'atari magazine in the camp to write a short essay, which she did. Then she got invited to become a teacher by Save the Children, and she said, but I never finished school, and they said, it doesn't matter, you have the talents of gathering children, knowing what to do with them. And Asma transformed. And it's her, it's not the program. The program was just the catalyst, the trigger. And Asma actually recently got transferred as a refugee, now she's in France. And guess what she did as soon as she set foot in Paris? She started reading aloud. She gathered the children and started reading aloud to them. Asma is a powerhouse and is an example of how every human being has the potential to find themselves. And it doesn't have to be that you become a fancy or famous person. It's about finding yourself, setting your own path, and being true to that. And that, I think, is defining success the way you want it.
Jean-Phillippe Courtois: Every human being has potential. You need that trigger, something that gives you trust in yourself, confidence in yourself. And that's what happened to Asma when she took part in the program. She was challenged on a profound level. I'm actually really interested in the way you talk and you've been developing some very unique, positive, and leadership skills running through your program initiative. Recently, I had Reshma Saujani on the podcast. She's the founder of Girls Who Code. And through that organization, she has enabled women and girls to be more ambitious with their goals and to realize their potential. So this is where I can see some parallels, of course, what you’re doing. As you know, I'm also a strong believer in the potential for everyone to become a positive leader, you don't need to be a CEO, you can be a mom, you can be in a school, a teacher, you can be a positive leader. I think the great work you've done, empowering and transforming thousands of moms across the world to become more than family leaders, but actually, committee leaders is very inspiring. So I’d love you to share the learning you had along the way in identifying and nurturing some unique set of soft skills. What are those unique skills that you've been developing, enabling, revealing through the program, and maybe taking the example of this, now you discuss and others. What is that unique value and force coming through that development, actually?
Rana Dajani: What I have discovered, through the development of this program and leading it, and listening and interacting and learning from the different women, particularly in the program, as well as men, from different age groups and different backgrounds and cultures across the world, is that what we all need as human beings, is to have the confidence in ourselves, to trust ourselves, and trust our gut feelings, and go forward. What I have discovered is that any program, all it has to do to be successful is to focus on that. How do you unleash that intrinsic motivation? How do you remove the barriers for that intrinsic motivation, that autonomy to flourish? Then you will succeed in whatever program you are designing, whether it's about social change, business, education. And as we go forward into the 21st century, with all the unknowns, with technology, all the hype about what is the education that we are giving our children for the future. Because we don't even know what their jobs are going to look like, what are their challenges? So it's about fostering in them curiosity, critical thinking skills, and that feeling of autonomy, which is ancient. It's how we survived as a species to start with. This how we survived as a species. Just to reclaim that. And when you do that, then you become a powerhouse and you become a changemaker in every circle you are in. And imagine everybody becoming a changemaker? So that's what I've learned from We Love Reading. And that's what I keep telling, whether you are experts wanting to design a program from an academic point of view, because many programs are designed that way, or you are an international NGO having staff in-house trying to design a program. I tell them, if you don't incorporate this autonomy as a core principle of any design, you cannot design a program that will be picked up, that is sustainable, that is successful, that has a real impact. And I call it our secret sauce, or the magic of We Love Reading. So we tell everybody, all you need to do is sprinkle a little bit of that magic. And that's what led me to rethink even, all the other aspects of leadership. How do you redesign taking this autonomy as a central principle?
Jean-Phillippe Courtois: I think what you just said goes beyond just self-confidence. Self-confidence is a starting point, to at least believe in yourself, and providing a supportive environment where people, kids, moms, whatever, are being valued for their strengths, their talents, what they can bring to the world. But then it's actually about enabling them, Americans would say empower, which is a very difficult word to translate into many other languages, I found. At least in French, it’s very hard, there's no translation to “empower”. But to give that autonomy to people, so that they can actually achieve more by themselves, with the best version of themselves. That's so powerful indeed, because I believe like you Rana, that this is the core fabric of a changemaker. That's a secret sauce, for sure. You and I were discussing recently, because you’re obviously very much interested by technology as well. And just a couple months back, we've seen emergence of large AI models and this incredible, fancy, exciting Chat GPT that is being used by millions of people in the world. And when you think about Chat GPT as an example, and you think about the future of We Love Reading, what does it mean? What does it say? What does it tell you, in terms of that program, or the future of that program? I think that actually independent agents assisting you, maybe to read, maybe to do more things, to do a lot more, actually.
Rana Dajani: The way you foster that critical thinking is by reading. Reading aloud with a human being, so that you’re listening, and you're interacting, you're playing with those words in your mind, and then you're throwing them back and having a conversation and a dialogue, and realizing the boundaries and the limitations, and exploring. So that's a social engagement, a social process, that's based on physical, reading a book and being with a person, doing it. That's how you foster the critical thinking, and that's the core of We Love Reading. We refuse. We focus on real books, because we want that human-human interaction, especially in young children. But then when you fall in love with reading and you've got that in you, you can read anywhere, and anything. You could read off a screen, you could read off a tablet, you could read the Chat GPT things that they're writing, it doesn't matter. Because you have that inside you. And that's why we use technology in the way we want and not let technology to determine how we use it. And that leads to speaking up. And not just following every trend, and every fancy thing, but to take a step back, reflect, and having trust in your confidence, in yourself, and saying your opinion, which is part of critical thinking, that you have an opinion. To be able to form an opinion and then to have the confidence to say your opinion, even if it means you may be wrong, and that's okay. That's how you learn. If you keep it to yourself, you're never going to learn. And you may be right. And that's important because you will help others speak up. And that's part of saying the truth and engaging in these conversations. But most importantly, not to be afraid to make a mistake. I tell my students and people, it's okay to make a mistake, so long as you don't repeat the same mistake, make a new mistake, so we can learn together.
Jean-Phillippe Courtois: Yes. So clearly, early 2023, even with Chat GPT, we need to love reading even more together and loudly.
Rana Dajani: True.
Jean-Phillippe Courtois: Now I'd like to shift gears, a little bit, Rana, discuss systemic change, actually. Last year I got, as a guest, a wonderful person, Bill Drayton, from Ashoka, the founder of Ashoka, who gives a great definition of systemic change. He describes it as the result of letting go of control of an idea and enabling and encouraging others to join in and implement a change. So how are you thinking, yourself, about systemic change? What is it you would love to achieve, not only for the millions of mums and kids in the world through We Love Reading, but also for the hundreds and millions of refugees across the world? I know that's a big question, but here comes a time for a big, big question indeed for you, Rana.
Rana Dajani: Absolutely. But big questions sometimes have simple solutions. In science, the best discoveries were the simplest ones. For me, I went on a journey of learning, evolving, and changing in how I perceive the world and how I perceive myself in the world and within the world. Going from I want to make a difference in the world, and coming up with a solution, and implementing it and testing it, and then trying to spread it, to learning what does that really mean. And how do you achieve that impact that you want to share? As Bill said, how do you let go of a solution and give the opportunity for others to take it up and own it as themselves? But I want to go beyond that. Not just to own the solution that I came up with, I want them to be changemakers themselves. So, it's not about scaling, and if we want to talk about scaling, I would say scaling the mindset change, not scaling a program, or a particular set of knowledge, no, all you need to make sure that you're scaling the mindset and then you let it go. That way, it's open, the potential is infinite, and so then I start asking, how do you achieve that goal and work towards that goal? To me, that's systems change. Because that way, if every person becomes a changemaker, then you've solved all the problems. Because the problems are always going to happen. It's not that you solve all the problems today, and you're going to all go home and we're done. Tomorrow, there's going to be a whole new set. So then how do you keep solving? And as a scientist, I always like to develop solutions that are sustainable, that do not need my input continuously, because I am finite. And so instead of me propagating the solution, I shift that, that's a systems change, to every human being around the world. And then you let it go.
Jean-Phillippe Courtois: I love Rana’s philosophy and admire her ambition. She's had a huge amount of success with We Love Reading by changing as well the minds of refugees and displaced people affected by trauma. So how about changing the attitudes and the mindsets of those in host countries? How can we change the way they think about refugees?
Rana Dajani: Whether you're talking about a refugee or a person in a host community, in the end, they’re human beings. And if you also think, as you design interventions and programs, from the minute a person is displaced, becomes a refugee, when humanitarian aid comes in, and then later as they become refugees for 17 years and hence going into development, there's that grey area between humanitarian and development now, and then leading into being part of the host community. And how do you integrate or assimilate within that community, that spectrum, in every step you need to have that principle that they are designing, not I am designing. We should give them the autonomy to design for themselves, together, so at every stage. And if you have that principle, then you will have addressed that challenge in a very simple way by shifting the responsibility to the people themselves. It's a big step, but you know what it requires? It requires trust. And that's one thing we don't have enough of. Of trusting each other and trusting human beings. And in this context, trusting refugees, to know what is better, to trust them as humans, that we want to work together as host communities and refugees. That we’re in this together, we want to help each other. So, to me, the most important value here is trust.
Jean-Phillippe Courtois: Trust. Building that trust is a foundation to do more together. We’re almost coming to an end. Just the last couple of questions, Rana. One is, well one of your books, Five Scarves, where you describe yourself as wearing five scarves. Those of a mother, of a teacher, of a scientist, social entrepreneur, and feminist as well. Can you tell and share with us which scarf do you enjoy wearing the most, or is it actually more of the combination of the five that generates your energy and positivity that I can feel through this TV screen and through your voice and your expression. I can feel the positive energy all the time. So what is the magic source of Rana?
Rana Dajani: I don't separate these roles. To me, they're all intertwined. They go back and forth, and they draw from each other, inspiration. When one part of your life you could encounter a challenge, it's frustrating, another part of it steps in and inspires you and makes you forget the whole world and so on. So, to me, they're all intertwined. We're humans, we're not divided into silos. That's part of modernity, putting us into silos or nations, or disciplines. And I think what we know is we need to put that all together, like you're cooking, and now a beautiful smell and taste will come out of it that will help us all. I think what really inspires me and moves me is being with other people, learning from them, listening to them, engaging with them, and realizing that there's so much I don't know, we don't know, but that's amazing, because that means that every day is a new day. Every day there's something amazing, and wonderful, and inspiring, and enthralling that's going to happen. I feel it's like a rollercoaster, that thrill, that kick you get. Where does that come from? I think it comes because I'm very optimistic. I'm a positive person. And I would say that positivity, that optimism, comes from reading a lot.
Jean-Phillippe Courtois: Full circle, okay.
Rana Dajani: I want to go back to reading. Because through reading, you discover your inner potential, and you discover the potential of the world. And that's why I believe it's a crime for a child not to grow up loving to read. To discover all that and go forward.
Jean-Phillippe Courtois: I have a very last question for you, though. What is your aspiration with this new chapter of your life and what is the change you want to enable in the world, that you would feel so grateful about?
Rana Dajani: At stages in your life, you feel you know where you are, where are you going and you're in control. And then you go into stages where that's gone. And COVID-19 and what we all went through globally, was one of those experiences that we can relate to across the world, across humanity. It was a very humbling experience, levelling the playing field for everyone around the world. For me, that shifted the ground from under me, making me re-evaluate, reassess, where am I in this world, what do I want to do, really? Having achieved what I've achieved, what's next? And what I suddenly saw, going from a scientist, a leader, a social entrepreneur, very clear-cut paths, I shifted. And that's when I thought about systems change, about how can I use my insights and learnings that we discussed through this hour to help engage others with these learnings, these insights that I bring to the world table because of the unique perspective: Being a human being first, being a female, being from a different culture, an Arab, being a Muslim, and being a scientist, being a mother and talking about all these things that I share with 8 billion people around the world, or even more now, in different ways. So, some I share some qualities, and with others, I share another quality. So I bring this to the table, because most of the time, the systems we see around us have been led by certain cultures and certain people. Again, COVID taught us that we will not be able to succeed and thrive as a species if we don't include everyone in this conversation. Along with that, came with a very deep humbleness of the more you know, the more you realize how much you don't know. This deep humbleness of I want to learn from others. So having that openness and that comfortable with the uncomfortable, comfortable with change, is, I think, part of that journey that I am going through and that I envision continuing till the end. And that's what makes life so amazing and wonderful. I would like to end with one thing from science. I like to use the chaos theory in physics, which is called the butterfly effect. The theory says when a butterfly flutters its wings in one part of the world, it moves the air a centimetre, but there's a hurricane that results beyond time and space. And so I envision every human being is like a butterfly, making a little change, but will have an impact beyond time and space that they can imagine. So be the butterflies.
Jean-Phillippe Courtois: Being open to change, open to new opportunities is key if you want to flourish and grow. And one way to encourage that is to read for pleasure. To use art and culture to explore different ideas and perspectives. It doesn't matter how old you are, the butterfly effect teaches us that small things matter. Rana's journey as a social entrepreneur began with a hunch, but her impact has been enormous. What's really striking is the way Rana built the firm, coming at it with a scientific mind and including the stakeholders in the design process right from the beginning. She built it incrementally, in a holistic way. That's how programs should be designed. Well, Dr. Rana Dajani, thank you so much for having this wonderful conversation, insightful, inspiring illustrations, and reencouraging us to keep working on ourselves, to reinvent the way we can actually become a changemaker, one at a time. Thank you so much, again. I enjoyed a lot, our conversation.
Rana Dajani: You're welcome. Thank you.
Jean-Phillippe Courtois: You've been listening to the Positive Leadership Podcast with me, Jean-Phillippe Courtois. We are really grateful for your comments, review, and feedback, so please keep it coming, and do subscribe to the podcast if you've not done so already. Until the next episode, goodbye.