Tomorrow’s Leaders Program

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Tomorrow’s Leaders’ Talking Series: Women in Leadership!

In partnership with the Arab Institute for Women (AiW), the U.S.-Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) Tomorrow’s Leaders (TL) Program at the Lebanese American University launched the Tomorrow’s Leaders’ Talking Series: Women in Leadership! The Talking Series comprises of monthly panels that will connect our TL students and LAU community to powerful female leaders who strive to influence their societies and execute change.

Why Women in Leadership?

Leadership, in most work areas, has been male-dominated. Even though women have contributed to many fields around the world, their involvement has remained, for decades, unnoticed and their active role has been downgraded. Women, after many years of perseverance, were finally able to break the invisible “glass ceiling” which hindered their self-development and self-actualization. Currently, women are present in fields like Entrepreneurship, Administration, Education, Engineering, Health, Science and Technology at the local, national, regional, and global levels. Throughout history, women were able to prove that leadership is not gendered and that the qualities required to be a good leader are inherent and can be cultivated through education, experience, and self-development.

The TL Talking Series

Accordingly, the TL Talking Series will shed light on Women in Leadership in different areas such as Sports, Education, Arts, Business, Economics, Sciences, Politics, Activism, and many more. Our aim is to celebrate the achievements of women who broke the gender barriers and to encourage our young TLers to go beyond the obstacles they face in their leadership journey. Success is about going where others didn’t dare to go first. Thus, our objective in the TL program at LAU is to nurture our young scholar’s innate courage to DARE and DO!

March 2022 Episode: Women in Sports!
This March we would like to celebrate Women in Sports.
Please mark your calendars to meet:

Profile Information

Playinhershoes is an initiative to empower women and girls in sports by giving them the attention they deserve. Through its page on Instagram, Playinhershoes delivers the message of women empowerment in sports,  covers the news and journey of women athletes, and creates sports events for women. According to recent statistics, only 4% of the media in the world covers women’s news, and around 50% of  girls aged 15 years old quit their favorite sports because of societal pressure.
Something had to be done!

Events organized till now by this initiative

“Where do we get our fund from?

“In addition to the YLP INC (Youth Leadership Program/Incubation program-UNDP) grant that helped us start this initiative, after Playinhershoes won the local competition of startups and went to Tunisia to learn more, we earned another  grant to start the socks line which is helping us generate revenues.




Mona Yaacoub

Brief BIO

Ms. Mona Yaacoub, a basketball Player, is recently playing for women’s first Division team at Homentmen - Antelias. She previously played for “Energy Mtayleb” and “Antranik” as well. Ms. Yaacoub studied Journalism in the Lebanese University and obtained a Master’s degree. Last year, in addition to her degree in Journalism, Ms. Yaacoub decided to sign up for a new major in physical education. With regards to her volunteering activities, she was always passionate about sports and women’s rights. She was part of the game association that helps kids practice urban sports in rural areas and was also part of the Fe-male organization that works on empowering women and changing their stereotyped images in the media.  

Based on my passion for sports and  my struggle of being a girl who loves basketball in a patriarchal society, I wanted to dedicate myself to help girls feel empowered in this field, so I joined the YLP4 program with UNDP where I came up with the idea of changing women’s world in sports. I started a platform dedicated to support girls and women in the sports world, through covering their achievements, preparing sports events, and coming up with socks lines that serves the same target. It became like a community where women support each other to make an impact and exact change in the sports world which is dominated by men.”- Mona Yaacoub


Jennifer Ammoury

Brief BIO

Ms. Jennifer Ammoury holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Business Management and an MBA in Finance & Economics from Notre Dame University. Since 2014, Ms. Ammoury serves as a basketball coach for Champville and the Lebanese Central Bank. She joined Sports Mania in 2015 as an event organizer and currently, she’s the head of communications at FIBA, the International Basketball Federation.

““Female Referee” – Not something you would expect to hear when it comes to the sports field in Lebanon. We live in a Middle Eastern community that tends to be resistant to change; a community that is based on stereotypes and whoever falls “outside the box” will have to go head-to-head with the whole community because – according to its people – such change is deemed inappropriate”. Jennifer Ammoury

Ms. Ammoury’s area of expertise is in Basketball refereeing. This field is, however, largely dominated by men, which makes it very hard for women to become professional referees in local and international Basketball games.  According to Ms. Ammoury, “for a woman to be able to attain the ranks of men and be granted the right to referee both men’s and women’s games, she has to overcome several hurdles along her path. In fact, whenever such a community experiences something “new”, it requires a lot of time for it to be accepted.” In this context, she points out that one of the main challenges she faced along the road to FIBA was having to deal with all the pressure imposed upon in hopes of making me fail, and proving dissenters’ point of view that only male referees are able to handle men’s games.  and that I, as a female, am not up to par. Moreover, while keeping in mind that the referee has the upper hand on the court and has the ultimate power to control the game, many male players, blinded by their “masculinity”, could not accept being handled on the court by a female referee”. Having said that, Ms. Ammoury’s path hasn’t been easy – especially when trying to break prevailing stereotypes. Thus, to develop her skills and bring hope to other ambitious women, Ms. Ammoury worked extremely hard to enhance her fitness abilities and deployed all efforts to reach her target. Ms. Ammoury achieved her goals by applying three major steps which made her earn respect and admiration in the field:

  1. Grasp the Basketball rules & Interpretation books;
  2. Be physically fit and ready at all times;
  3. Never compromise at the expense of her dignity whether on or off-court.

“When I was a little girl, I never imagined myself refereeing since the field was male-dominated as I previously mentioned. I started as a Track & Field athlete and Basketball player at the age of 9 at my beloved school Champville. I went on to play with 1st division teams, the National Team, and later with the University’s National Team. Thankfully, as a player, I was able to achieve a lot.  I won the Lebanese League, Lebanese Cup, Arab Championship, West Asia, Hicham Jaroudi International Tournament, Catalonia Cup in Spain, and many others.
At the age of 28 however, it was time for a new challenge.
This is when I embraced the opportunity that was offered to me and competed with 7 male candidates to earn one of six international referee licenses granted by FIBA. There had been no referee training courses that year, so I had to develop my refereeing skills on my own. With the help and encouragement of some of my colleagues, I was assigned to referee more and more games. FIBA requires all referees to pass a high-intensity fitness test as well as the Rules Test. and let me just say, it wasn’t an easy task! Through long and extensive training hours, I worked very hard and consistently to reach my target and become a FIBA Female Referee. As a compensation for all the hard work I did, I made my presence on court count and was appointed as a Referee in Egypt and Morocco in the Arab Championships, as well as in an International Men Tournament in Egypt.” – Jennifer Ammoury

Looking forward…
A piece of advice to all the girls and women out there:
Never doubt yourself and dare to make a change!
It doesn’t matter how much your dreams are far-fetched, go take that first step and work hard to make your dreams come true, and always bear in mind that if it was supposed to be easy, everyone would have done it.”-  Ms. Ammoury