Laila Hourani is a Senior Program Officer at the Ford Foundation MENA office in Cairo. Her grant-making is centered in the arts, culture, and media and focuses on amplifying the power of cultural expression to build inclusive narratives that enhance civic engagement.
Her grant-making has supported the institutional strengthening of key regional Arab and African cultural organizations. It has also enhanced the creativity and global positioning of individual Arab and African artists, journalists, filmmakers and cultural producers.
Before joining Ford in 2011, Laila was based in Syria and led the development of strategy for the British Council’s arts and culture work in the Near East and North Africa.
Laila has served as a board and jury member in key organizations, including Landscapes of Hope (advisory board), Cultural Resource, Ettijahat-Independent Culture, the Anna Lindh Foundation’s Citizens for Dialogue program, and the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC).
She studied Russian language and specialized in TV journalism at Moscow State University (1988-94). Her debut novel, Baoh, was published in 2009.