We are proud to announce Jaleh Taheri as a recipient of MiL Foundation scholarship recognizing her pioneering work in promoting women leaders in Sweden and the GCC countries.


jaleh.pngJaleh Taheri is the Founder and Executive Director of Women for Sustainable Growth (W4SG), a bilateral organization and network for leaders in academia, business and society across the Nordic and Gulf Regions. It is the only organization of its kind that brings together women leaders from the Gulf to meet and share experiences with women leaders from the Nordic countries.

Since W4SG’s founding in 2012, MiL Institute and Women for Sustainable Growth have collaborated on a number of projects that have been recognized for their impact on an individual, organizational and societal level. Our longest running joint project is the Women Leadership Exchange Program, hosted by Dubai Women’s Establishment, which has been called “the first of its kind in the Middle East” and declared having a ”growing impact and success as a platform for UAE women to represent their nation and highlight the active role UAE women play in the nation-building process.”

With very few resources but a great network, vision and power to engage people from across different fields and nations, Jaleh and W4SG have succeeded in completing major change projects targeting cross-cultural exchange and the promotion of women leadership. The benefits of contributing to these kinds of initiatives can be seen short term; for example, by the fact that the majority of participants have stepped into more important and qualified leadership positions. There are also long term achievements with the creation of strong local communities of alumni and ambassadors, who continue to taking up new board member positions, contribute to initiatives that increase engagement between the regions, and maintain strong networks to support each other’s professional advancement.


Selection of projects

Young Leaders Boot Camp (YLBC)

YLBC is a unique leadership program for young female professionals (ages 20-30) in the Nordic and GCC countries who want the skills, platform and network necessary to step into leadership roles. The next program start is in October 2017. Applications are open now.

MiL Institute contributed in design and delivery of the first batch of this six-day program and will do the same for the second batch.


Nordic Exposure Journey

The Nordic Exposure Journey is a week- long program for women in management positions and other professionals in Saudi Arabia, where the participants meets leading professionals in different fields regarding the economic inclusion of women. MiL Institute contributed on the design as well as hosting parts of the program in Malmö.


Women Leadership Exchange Program (WLEP) 1-3

The first program was held in 2012 and the participants included both Swedish and Emirati managers. The second and third batch the program was more geared towards the promotion of women leaders in the UAE and therefore the Swedish managers participated to a lesser extent and only in the first module in Sweden.


Jaleh is a bridge builder and strong advocate of women. She has a passion for connecting and engaging across cultures and sectors as well as grounding her work in academic knowledge. She is devoted to promoting women’s leadership and has spearheaded a number of organizations around these themes; i.e. she is a co-Founder and the former President of the Scandinavian Chapter of 85 Broads. Her work has been recognized by many; for example, the Crown Princess of Sweden and The International Alliance of Women (TIAW) who awarded her the ”100 World of Difference Award”, which recognizes those who have made a significant contribution to the economic empowerment of women globally.


Related posts

Hur ser våra framtida ledare ut? Ledarskapsprogram för unga kvinnor med koppling till Mellanöstern →

Young Leaders Boot Camp - kick off! →

An unique leadership program for female managers →

Great start for Women Leadership Exchange Program →



Hur ser våra framtida ledare ut? Ledarskapsprogram för unga kvinnor med koppling till Mellanöstern

MiL Foundation Forum är på plats under Almedalsveckan 2015 och tillsammans med våra samarbetspartners och kunder vill vi lyfta upp några av de brännande ledarskapsfrågor vi står inför idag i fråga om hållbar samhällsutveckling.


Ta del av deltagarnas berättelser från Young Leaders Boot Camp, ett ledarskapsprogram för unga kvinnor med intresse för internationella relationer, hållbara samhällen och Mellanöstern. Vem har kompetensen att leda Sveriges arbete att bygga broar över kulturer och gränser, och hur lyfter vi dessa personer?

Hösten 2014 genomförde Women for Sustainable Growth (W4SG) och MiL Institute ett femdagars träningsläger för 22 unga kvinnor, 20-30 år, med ambitionen att bli ledande i sitt fält. Målsättningen var att ”boosta” både individ och grupp och skapa ett starkt personligt och professionellt nätverk; en grundläggande plattform för hållbar utveckling, inte bara för deltagarna i sig utan för Sverige och världen.  Genom att bygga en lärande gemenskap rustar programmet dessa ambitiösa ledare, sociala entreprenörer och förändringsagenter med kunskap, verktyg och relationer för att genomföra de idéer och projekt de brinner för.

Deltagarna berättar själva hur upplevelsen och gemenskapen förändrat dem, samt hur programmet i sig är ett verktyg värt att sprida till fler för att hjälpa Sveriges ta vara på och stötta dess framtida ledare.


Jara Husein, student i globala politiska studier vid Malmö Högskola
Sarah Nilsson Dolah, Projektledare Women for Sustainable Growth
Jenny Nyström, student i statsvetenskap vid Lunds universitet
Hoda Saad, Projektkoordinator SKL International
Jannica Sandström, student vid Lunds Universitet
Evie Soli, Frilansskribent och utvärderingskonsult
Johanna Steen, Programchef och handledare, MiL Institute

Tid & plats

Onsdagen den 1 juli kl. 11.00-12.30
Donnerska huset, Aulan, Donners plats 1

Läs mer i Almedalsveckans program...


A unique leadership program for Young Women Leaders

In the end of September of 2014, 20 young women leaders will gather in Skåne for a five day leadership boot camp hosted by MiL Institute, Women for Sustainable Growth (W4SG) and ProcessInk.


Continuing a successful partnership - but closer to home

This is not the first time MiL Institute, and I personally, have partnered up with Women for Sustainable Growth (W4SG) and ProcessInk.

The second batch of WLEP, 2013-2014
The second batch of WLEP, 2013-2014

Together with Dubai Women Establishment (DWE) we have seen two successful batches of Swedish and Emirati managers graduate from the Women Leadership Exchange Program (2012-2014) and we look forward to a third Women Leadership Exchange Program in 2015.

However, regardless of the importance of WLEP, Young Leaders Boot Camp is literally and figuratively hitting it closer to home which gives me an even greater sense of urgency and excitement about being able to contribute in the training and development of these young women leaders, local to Sweden.

Johanna Steen, MiL Institute
Johanna Steen, MiL Institute

It is with an odd sense of gratefulness, humility and excitement I look to meet the Young Leaders I put so much hope in and I can't think of anything more worthwhile than hosting this particular group of young Swedes.

YLBC sets out to provide an opportunity for deep connection and support. A place to learn from peers and mentors, to reflect on dreams and build visions of the future. A time to explore one's own voice and platform in a global world and the challenges that follows.

It's 5 empowering days, which we hope will leave the participants with the toolkit, the drive and knowledge of what they'll need for a long term sustainable leadership.

MiL answered the call - now find out how you can contribute!

The YLBC Hosting team - Sarah Nilsson Dolah, Johanna Steen, Jaleh Taheri, Maja Rotbøll.
The YLBC Hosting team - Sarah Nilsson Dolah, Johanna Steen, Jaleh Taheri, Maja Rotbøll.

When we were approached by W4SG there was no hesitation of whether or not we wanted to be part of this pilot project. We may work pro bono but the opportunity to contribute and live our values, let alone the learning experience of co-creating this pilot program with our partner organizations, is invaluable.

We don't want to hoard all these richnesses - therefore we invite you to read more about the program and find out how you can be a part of this adventure!

Best regards,

Johanna Steen, MiL Institute


Young Leaders Boot Camp - a 5 day training for Women Leaders

The Young Leaders Boot Camp (YLBC) is a unique leadership program for young women who aim to become leaders in their fields.

The program is held in-residence at MiLGårdarna in Vittsjö where 20 participants will spend five days working on individual strengths and interests while building a peer-mentoring group culture that will serve as support in their professional lives. Successful candidates will have the opportunity to enter W4SG’s network of female leaders for mentorship, internships, and more.

W4SG is working in collaboration with MiL Institute and ProcessInk to design and host the camp. Participants are women ages 21-25 who are just entering their careers with a strong interest in international affairs and the Middle East. The program is held in English; proficiency in Arabic is a plus.

The camp is designed to meet Sweden’s growing need for competent, confident, and internationally savvy leaders. Sweden hosts many leaders with diverse backgrounds and experiences who can bring their competence and knowledge to an internationalizing region. Building lasting bridges between regions and cultures requires good leadership - which is what W4SG aims to support with this program.

Join the project now!

Sarah Nilsson Dolah Sarah Nilsson Dolah

Young Leaders Boot Camp has received initial support from Tillväxtverket yet W4SG is seeking further partnerships with companies and organizations. We believe this program could be of interest to HR and PR departments within international companies - especially if they work with the growing market in the Middle East. We also seek to partner with governmental organizations or NGO's that aim to support Skåne's economic internationalization, provide job support to young adults, and/or facilitate sustainable integration.

Please contact us for further information:

Sarah Nilsson Dolah

Program manager Young Leaders Boot Camp,



Women Leaders from Sweden and the United Arab Emirates

May 20th -23rd 2012 marked the start of Women Leadership Exchange Program – an international leadership program for women managers.

During four days of beautiful spring weather, 19 women managers from Sweden and from the United Arab Emirates, gathered in Klippan, Sweden, for the first of two modules.

In January of 2013, the green of the Swedish spring will give way for the wast sand dunes of Dubai, location of the second module in the program.

Program direction. From the left: Johanna Steen (MiL Institute), Maria Delmar (MiL Institute) and Maja Rottbøll (W4SG)

This pilot project, focusing on empowering women leaders from Sweden and the United Arab Emirates to build a sustainable leadership practice, is the first ever co-operation between MiL Institute, Women for Sustainable Growth (W4SG) and Dubai Women Establishment (DWE).

Leadership Development for Women Leaders

In its structure this leadership development program is not that different from the usual leadership programs at MiL Institute.

What sets it apart is the international target group and the joint ethos and focus of the three organizing institutions on promoting women leaders to be instigators of sustainable development. Building change from the inside out.

A Sustainable Leadership Practice

During a period of 8 months the participants will work on establishing a Sustainable Leadership Practice.

On a personal level this means exploring one’s the inner purpose, gaining self- knowledge, brokering the much sought after balance in life and gaining a greater understanding of one’s individual challenges and strenghts as a leader. In many ways this entails coming to terms with the ideal image one might have of what a good leader does, in favour of building on the resourses and capablities one has as part of one’s particular personal and organizational context.

Meet the present without compromising the future

On an organizational level, a sustainable leadership practice, means to explore and develop ways of furthering participation and innovation, to lead change,while still maintaining relationships and securing a communication and a participation that don’t crumble under the pressure to achieve results. To find a way of leading that allows for the organization to meet the needs of the present without compromising the needs of the future.

One key aspect of maintaining a sustainable leadership practice is to be part of a community and a network of peers that challenge and support you, having places, persons and relationships that can serve as resources and inspiration in your work. Therefore this holds a special focus in the Women Leadership Exchange Program, and is achieved through the network of women leaders participating as well as by the know-how and the communities of the organizing institutions.

Delegation meeting Carina Tempel, Executive Director, Fosie District Council, Malmö City.
From the left: Maryam Majid Bin Theneya, Noaf Tahlak, Carina Tempel, Hessa Tahlak, Dr. Aisha Bu Smait, Sultana Saif

Meeting Women Managers in Leading Positions

In the spirit of building a network of women leaders, the participants also met with women managers in leading positions within different organizations such as Malmö Stad, Tetra Pak, E.ON Nordic and Lund University.

What makes a successful pilot project?

The concept of "pilot projects" indicates a test run, a trial, with the clear and expressed purpose of learning for future projects. It is a concept that I appreciate greatly. Maybe more projects should be pilots or at least embrace the "learning" core of the pilot in order to keep the co-creative, experimental and learning aspects of leadership development alive.
Something we learnt immediately, through the great response evoked in both regions when we announced the Women Leadership Exchange Program to the world, was that it is an important and sought after initiative.

As we went public with our search for 12 managers based in Sweden and 12 managers based in the UAE, within the hour, we had people expressing their eagerness to participate.

In the end we ended up with 7 managers from Sweden and 12 from the UAE. While the short notice - two months before the start of the program -  drew down the number of participants from Sweden (full calendars and budget issues), the opposite was true for the Emirati participants, this even though the recruitment process in Dubai did not start until the beginning of May.

Program Direction: Erin Frazier (W4SG)

Half time lessons of a successful start

Regardless of whether it pertains to pilot projects or other endeavors, the crucial aspect of learning lies in the act to stop and reflect on the experience, which sometimes means to learn some rather hard lessons from mistakes and failures.

The issue of there being a minority of Swedish managers might not have been ideal but it was a great cause for reflection. What happens when you are in minority and majority and what does it do to you? The parallels to being a woman in leading position in a male dominated organization was not that far away. Also, the differences between the regions in regards to planning practices and the concept of time, also became something to talk about and learn from.





What happens when you leave your safe haven

Another great opportunity for learning presented itself when the participants, due to company visits early in the morning of May 23rd, left the secure and peaceful haven of Borgen at MiLgårdarna for the busy city life of Malmö. The chock and the contrast left many of us overwhelmed and a little disoriented, the bus ride from Klippan to Malmö, proving not to be enough time to prepare for the onslaught of impressions, sounds and people, not enough time to make sense of the powerful experience of sharing and opening up during the time spent in Klippan.

From that, there are two lessons to learn – be aware of what happens when you change location in the middle of a module (it might be good to consider staying at the first location) and make sure to continue making mistakes to learn from.

The setting of the program should not be so perfectly constructed that it becomes a parallel universe, completely foreign to, and cut off from,  the reality of life and the real life issues and challenges. By that I mean that having a safe haven can be important in order to be able to experiment and learn. Too far off from everyday conditions and circumstances may however make the transition and the treashold for turning insights (in the program) into action (back home) too steep.

How to turn new found insights into sustainable action

To me, this ”mistake" in design, though painful at the time, turned out to be one of the most important and real moments in the program with an obvious parallel to what happens to many participants when they return home from a similar experience and meet the reality of life again. Experiencing the disorientation of coming to Malmö, raised the questions of:

- How to make sense of what you have been through?

- How to hold on to new found insights in the busy life of everyday work and how to turn insights into changed behavior?

- How to communicate what you've learnt to those in your surroundings?

I think it proved to be one of the most important insights- the need to hold on when returning home, to be aware of the thin skin and the sensibility that comes from the experience.

The second, most important lesson for me that I hope to integrate in the next module, is therefore to make sure there is room for mistakes and unplanned events to influence the program and to have ample room and space to reflect on those occurences with the participants, so we can learn from them.

Next time in Dubai

Looking ahead, if the first module mostly focused on how to lead yourself, the second module in January 2013 will to a greater extent focus on how to lead others, to lead change and how to promote the development of sustainable communities of practice.

I look forward to new insights and lessons from this pilot project and I invite those of you that are curious to know more about the Women Leadership Exchange Program initiative, or have other questions or thoughts to share, to contact me.

Johanna Steen, MiL Institute

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