Rola is an award-winning consultant anaesthetist, the first Syrian TED Fellow and founder of CanDo, a humanitarian organisation supporting frontline health and aid workers to save children’s lives in war devastated communities. She has helped build 7 hospitals in Syria, including the first ever crowdfunded hospital, together reaching over 3 million people. Her work has featured in high profile media outlets, including the New York Times and she has been the subject of two BBC Panorama documentaries. She has shared global stages with presidents, celebrities and grassroots activists and her talks, including for TED and Google have been viewed online over 11 million times, inspiring thousands to become changemakers.
Rola is a powerful and authentic speaker, who is able to connect and inspire listeners to believe in their own inner remarkable self. She encourages her audience to believe in their power to stand up, speak out and create positive change.
Using lessons from her work on the frontlines of healthcare and warzones, Rola tells the stories of everyday ordinary people who do extraordinary things, who everyday risk their own lives for others - who are the beacons of light in the darkness of war. Through this she challenges each of us to connect to our inner beacon and dare to believe in our potential, in our possibilities as individuals and as a collective.
Rola shares her message - to truly change the world we need to embrace changing ourselves, that we can’t heal others when we are deeply wounded, that we can’t destroy systems of prejudice and oppression until we can love and accept ourselves and that we can’t create peace until we end the conflict within.
The journey to bettering the world is inextricably linked to our personal journey of self-realisation. Central to that self-mastery is realising we must nurture and nourish ourselves as we work to create change - love, care and compassion start within ourselves. It is a journey of facing our limitations and embracing our brilliance. Of seeing the worst yet the best of humanity, of facing trauma and burnout and realising we must put the oxygen mask on ourselves first, if we are to lead on the frontlines of change.
As a woman of Arab and Muslim descent, a migrant who didn’t speak English when she arrived in Britain, she speaks with authority on self-belief, the importance of believing in your inner power, making your dreams come true and embracing our feminine qualities.