Dr. Rama Mani Peacebuilder, Poet and Performance Artist,
Specialist in Global Security and Transformative Leadership

Founder of Theatre of Transformation Academy
Convenor of Enacting Global Transformation Initiative,
at the Centre for International Studies, University of Oxford

Rama’s purpose is to ignite the human and creative potential of individuals, organisations and communities to enact personal, local and global transformation simultaneously. Rama offers a dynamic synthesis of performance art, international expertise in peace and security, and transformative leadership experience, through the catalytic ‘theatre of transformation’ methodology.

"Enacting Personal and Global Transformation"

By Dr. Rama Mani At Gibraltar World Festival, Bright Med Talks, June 2017

"Women Pioneering a New World"

Women’s International Networking, Rome, September 2016, Dr. Rama Mani

Performance Art

Rama developed ‘Theatre of Transformation’ as a catalytic art form and transformative methodology based on her 30 years of global and grassroots experience in peacebuilding, justice, strategic leadership and global governance.
Since January 2014, Rama has offered over 100 original performances, including keynotes and seminars, on critical global issues. She has been hosted by international, academic, corporate and humanitarian organizations, and cultural venues around the world, including the United Nations and University of Oxford.
Rama’s performances of enacted real-life testimonies and poetry, tailor-made for each audience and event, have a profound and lasting impact on diverse audiences. The creative interaction and dialogue following each performance engages participants to envision change and to enact transformation in their own lives, organizations and communities.

She has performed with renowned and rising musicians who share with Rama a deed dedication to peace, justice and transformation, including the maestro of oriental music, Paul Grant (www.paulgrant.ch), Safi Al Hafez, the gifted Syrian refugee musician (SafiAlHafez), and Enzo Ikah, the reggae star and refugee rights activist from DR Congo. (www.enzoikah.com)
Testimonies of Transformation
The testimonies of transformation Rama enacts are all based on the real-life stories of individuals she has encountered and collaborated with personally in her life-long work in peacebuilding and governance. They demonstrate how ordinary people are capable of extraordinary courage when faced with crisis. Her performances portray how all of us as human beings have the capacity to transform ourselves, our societies and our world, despite all odds. They reignite our full human potential and latent creativity to envision and enact transformation.

The Theatre of Transformation’s Four-Stage Methodology was informed and shaped with inputs from innumerable scholars, decision makers, practitioners and artists who have collaborated directly in the process.

Transformative Leadership

Dr. Rama Mani is the Founder of Theatre of Transformation Academy, a non-profit association registered in Geneva under the Swiss civil code, with partners worldwide, whose aim is the champion the emerging creative power of humanity to shape our shared future.

She is the Convenor of the Enacting Global Transformation Initiative at the University of Oxford’s Centre for International Studies, whose objective is to redefine paradigms of power, to incubate creative and humane responses to global crises, and nurture a transformative epistemic community. Rama is the Co-Founder of ‘Rising Women, Rising World’, with Prof. Jean Houston and Dr. Scilla Elworthy, a global network of women leaders committed to ‘co-creating a world that works for all’.

Rama is a Founding Councilor of the World Future Council, whose aim is to preserve the rights of future generations through best policies, with the guidance of 50 eminent Councilors worldwide. She was a Jury Member and Senior Advisor for the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’ (Right Livelihood Award). Rama was the Director of the Global Peace and Security Course at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy.

She was the Senior External Relations Officer for the Commission on Global Governance. Since 1992, Rama has advised and collaborated with several United Nations agencies. She has served on the Board of many international organizations including the Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS); Advisory Board of NATO Defence College, UNESCO-CISH International Centre for Human Sciences (Lebanon), and Foundation for the Future (Jordan).

‘United Beyond Borders’ at United Nations Library-Geneva, 4 July 2017

Peace & Justice

Dr. Rama Mani is a Laureate of the Peter Becker Peace Prize, awarded in Germany in 2013 for the combined impact of her scholarship and practice in peace. She was the Executive Director of the International Centre for Ethnic Studies (Sri Lanka). She was the Africa Strategy Manager and Conflict Policy Advisor for Oxfam GB, based in Ethiopia and Uganda, working with local communities and policy makers in warzones across Africa. She was the Senior Strategy Advisor to the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (Geneva).

As Co-Founder of Theatre of Transformation Academy and Convenor of the Oxford Enacting Global Transformation Initiative, Rama undertakes transformative peace missions to countries in conflict to support local leaders, organisations and communities to envision and enact visionary change.

Peace Mission to Palestine, workshop for emerging peace leaders at Shareq youth organisation, December 2017

Teaching & Research

Dr. Rama Mani has a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Cambridge, an M.A. in International Affairs from the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University, and a B.A. in Political Science and French Literature from Bryn Mawr College, USA.

Dr. Rama Mani has been a Senior Research Associate at the University of Oxford’s Centre for International Studies since 2009. She is the Author of Beyond Retribution: Seeking Justice in the Shadows of War (Polity/Blackwell: 2002/2007). She is the Co-editor of Responsibility to Protect: Cultural Perspectives from the Global South. (Routledge: 2011).

As Associate Fellow and former Course Director at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, Rama delivers seminars on global security issues to national and international policy makers using the interactive ‘Theatre of Transformation’ methodology she developed.

She is the Co-Director of a Course on Becoming Agents of Transformation at St. Gallen University, Switzlerland, together with Professor Alexander Schieffer, Co-Founder of Trans4m Centre for Integral Development.

She serves on the faculty of the MA in Transitional Justice at the Geneva Academy for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, and teaches an MA course on Transformative Justice. She is invited regularly to teach at universities and institutes around the world.

‘War or Peace?’ Performance-Seminar at University of Oxford, with William Kelly, award-winning humanist artist and Lord John Alderdice, peacemaker from Northern Ireland, 2 May 2017

Kosmos Journal Article:
'Theatre of Transformation' by Rama Mani,
in the Fall/Winter 2016 Edition of Kosmos Journal

read article | download article

European Business Review
featuring Rama Mani on 11 April 2016,
Also Featured in EBR Special Issue 2015 on ‘Female Leaders in Our Times’

read article

Theatre of Transformation is an innovative interactive forum
to address critical global challenges and shape our shared future.

Theatre of Transformation invites us
to witness what is, to imagine what can be,
and to enact the change we need in our lives and in the world.

It combines the Power of Art with the Power of Politics to catalyze our capacity for societal and personal transformation,
through an engaging process of testimony, dialogue and creative interaction.

Theatre Of Transformation
Brochure on: Our Purpose, Philosophy and Missions.

download brochure

"The Poetry of Resistance"

Mahmoud Darwich Museum, Ramallah, 25 Feb, 2016

"Redefining Power to Build Peace"

United Nations Geneva, International Peace Day, 21 September 2015

Testimonies that Transform

Theatre of Transformation uses the medium of enacted testimonies and poems to bring to life the critical global issues we face, and unveil possible pathways of transformation. The testimonies and poems are based on real people Rama has collaborated with and situations she has encountered in conflict-affected areas and diverse parts of the world. The testimonies reveal the reality of man-made destruction as well as the capacity of the human spirit to transcend and transform suffering into strength. They indicate that transformation is always possible, whatever the circumstances.

Target Audiences

Theatre of Transformation is designed for:

- Leaders in politics, business, international and civic organizations;
- Policy makers, academics, and professionals;
- Women pioneers and change makers;
- Youth, students and transformation agents;

- Humanitarian workers, peacemakers, and international professionals;
- Survivors of violence;
- Communities in crisis;
- And all Global and Local Citizens who care about our shared future.

The Impact

Participants from highly diverse backgrounds are lastingly impacted by sessions of Theatre of Transformation. They experience awakened empathy, heightened creativity and revived commitment as they witness the causes and consequences of today’s crises on distant others and their own lives. Through the facilitated process of creative interaction and integral dialogue following the enactment, they discover the potential for change in their own lives, organizations and communities. They begin to forge innovative and collective responses to transform crises to opportunities and shape new possibilities for the future.

Events and host organizations

Over 100 tailor-made events of Theatre of Transformation on diverse global themes have been offered since 2014 in countries all over the world – including USA, Canada, Brazil, UK, Switzerland, France, Norway, USA, India, and South Africa. Host and partner organizations ranged from United Nations agencies, international and humanitarian organisations, universities, policy institutes and cultural and diplomatic institutions. Audiences and participants included political leaders, diplomats, business leaders, international professionals, women change makers, journalists, scholars, humanitarian workers, war-affected populations, survivors of violence, refugees, women and peace activists, and youth host organizations.

Circles of Solidarity

The guiding philosophy in all Rama’s work is to create circles of solidarity between people and across cultures in all parts of the world. These circles of solidarity are evoked by and in turn nurture our shared humanity. They honour human dignity, celebrate cultural diversity, and foster peace and justice for all.

The honoraria, fees and funds raised through all Rama’s programmes directly support the peace and solidarity missions she undertakes in countries in crisis, in partnership with local leaders. It is the encounters and experiences in these missions that generate the real-life stories that are portrayed in Rama’s programmes. These enactments evoke empathy, reawaken humanity and creativity, and incite a collective search for innovative and transformative solutions to current crises.

Thus, participants in Rama’s programmes have the dual satisfaction of experiencing transformative change in their own lives, organizations and societies, while simultaneously contributing to the transformation of the very individuals and communities in countries in crisis whose stories they witness and empathise with on stage.

In turn, the individuals and communities Rama works with in countries in crisis feel encouraged and empowered by the knowledge that their stories are heard and serve to inspire transformative change in other people and places around the world.

Honoraria and funds from programmes also support the courageous humanitarian initiatives Rama supports on the ground, and pioneering organisations for transformation she engages with directly.

Peace and Solidarity missions

Rama undertakes peace, solidarity and fact-finding missions to war zones and crisis areas, in close collaboration with inspiring local leaders and trusted grassroots organisations. Her missions support affected communities, especially women, youth, refugees and displaced populations, and chronicle survivors’ stories. Many of these stories are then portrayed in her performances, evoking the empathy and support of distant audiences, and raising funds for further peace missions, thus forging new circles of solidarity.

Voices, Visions and Wisdom Workshops

In countries in crisis and with refugee and displaced populations, Rama offers workshops that provide a safe, nurturing and transformative space for people to voice their stories and concerns. Participants are also encouraged to express and embody their visions for their own lives and for their societies. In the process, they distil and articulate the wisdom and strength that has emerged from their traumatic and painful experiences. Rama also provides mentoring and co-mentoring to people affected by conflict, either one-on-one or in small groups.

Courageous Humanitarian Initiatives

Honoraria raised through programmes or donations made at events support courageous grassroots and humanitarian projects Rama has been deeply inspired by which save lives and sustain communities. They also support the global transformation initiatives in which Rama is personally engaged. Supporters are also encouraged to learn about the remarkable work of these organisations and donate directly to them.

Pioneering Transformative Organizations

Rising Women Rising World: together with Dr. Scilla Elworthy, Founder of PeaceDirect and Oxford Research Group and thrice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and Prof. Jean Houston, Founder of Social Artistry and the Co-Founder of the Human Potential Movement, Rama is the Co-Founder of this new global women’s initiative that aims "to co-create a world that works for all". Rama also leads the Constellation dedicated to transforming global governance.

Host Organizations

Since 2014, Rama was been invited by a diverse range of host and partner organizations to offer a total of over 100 Theatre of Transformation events on diverse global themes. She has collaborated with:

The United Nations & other international & governmental organizations:

United Nations Office in Geneva; UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), UN Centre for Trade & Development (UNCTAD); UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA); Joint UNEP-OCHA Environmental Emergencies Unit;, International Organization for Migration (IOM); Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU); British Houses of Parliament.

Corporate Leadership Summits and Forums:

Global Female Leaders Summit (Berlin); Human Resources Summit (Istanbul); Global Leadership Network (Rio de Janeiro); World Investment Forum (United Nations, Geneva); TedX Women Covent Garden, (London).

Cultural Institutions and Festivals:

The Oxford Literary Festival; The Ashmolean Museum, (Oxford); Winnipeg Art Gallery; the French Consul and l’Institut Francais in Istanbul; World Women Festival (Oslo); Mahmoud Darwich Museum (Ramallah); Place to B for COP 21: UN Climate Change Conference (Paris).

International Foundations and Non-Governmental Organizations:

World Future Council; Initiatives of Change; Right Livelihood Award Foundation; Women in International Security and Conflict Management (WISCOMP); CORO-India, Vimochana.

Academic and Policy Institutions:

University of Oxford; University of Geneva; Graduate Institute, Geneva; Geneva Centre for Security Policy; University of Dundee; University of Winnipeg; St. Gallen University; Jawaharlal Nehru University; Jindal Global University; Lebanese University; Dar Al Kalima University College, Bethlehem; Indus Training and Research Institute, Bangalore.