Laila Hourani works from the foundation’s Cairo office. Her grant making focuses on developing and sustaining facilities-based arts organizations that are exemplars of artistic practice and innovative, equitable space development. She has also sought to advance social justice through media and the work of emerging and established filmmakers.
Before joining Ford in 2013 as a program officer, Laila worked with the foundation as a consultant. Previously, she led the development of strategy for the British Council’s arts and culture work in the Near East and North Africa, enabling cultural exchange between Arab and UK artists in a challenging social and political climate. Over her nearly 14 years with the British Council, Laila initiated, designed, and delivered projects in theater, contemporary dance, music, new writing, literature and translation, creative economy, and cultural leadership.
From 2005 to 2011, Laila sat on the artistic board of Cultural Mawred (Al Mawred Al Thaqafy), one of the leading nongovernmental cultural organizations servicing the Arab region. She has also been a board and jury member for other key regional organizations, among them Ettijahat Independent Culture, the Anna Lindh Foundation’s Citizens for Dialogue Programme, and the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture. Earlier, she worked as a journalist and with UNICEF Syria. As author of the acclaimed novel Baoh, published in 2009, she is a creative Arab artist in her own right.
Laila holds a diploma degree in TV journalism from Moscow State University.