Witness, Awaken, Enact!

Dr. Rama Mani is a Peace and Security Specialist, Poet and Performance Artist. She is a Senior Research Associate of the University of Oxford’s Centre for International Studies, a Councilor of the World Future Council, and Co-Founder of Rising Women Rising World. Based on her extensive experience in governance and peacebuilding across diverse cultures, she developed Theatre of Transformation which catalyzes our capacity for societal and personal transformation, through a dynamic process of testimony, dialogue and creative interaction.

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.

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

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

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Integral Peace Festival 2016
at Home for Humanity

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"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

50 events of Theatre of Transformation on diverse global themes were offered in 2014-2015 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.


Tailor-made programmes are designed, developed and offered to address a range of pressing challenges that are of critical importance in the present and for our future. They fall under four broad themes:

1. Leadership for the Future

Programmes in this thematic area support exceptional exemplars of transformative leadership from diverse sectors around the world. They mentor and equip inspiring leaders to steward our shared future. Through these programmes, leaders shape new paradigms of power, enact visionary change, and embody the values of transformative leadership essential for the emerging future.

Film: "The Art of Leadership"

at the Human Resources Summit, Istanbul, February 2015
The Art of Leadership

Poem: "Reshaping the Future"

2. Women for the World

Programmes under this theme champion women who dare to transcend barriers and rescript history. They draw on and nurture pioneering women leaders at grassroots, national and global levels on all continents. They particularly support women at the frontlines of crisis, who face grave odds, to transform their lives and societies. These programmes also evoke creative collaboration across genders, foster gender equity and women’s rights. This programme works in close partnership with ‘Rising Women Rising World’, whose aim is ‘to co-create a world that works for all’.

Film: "Women Who Said Yes! Women Who Said No!"

World Woman, Oslo, January 2015
Women for the World

Poem: "Rewriting HerStory"

3. From Conflict to Coexistence

Programmes in this theme highlight the transformative potential inherent in all crises. They awaken our latent creative capacity to transform the conflicts we face in our lives, organizations and societies. Based on Rama’s first hand experience in warzones around the world, these programmes address the causes and consequences of war, the refugee crisis, genocide and mass atrocities. They draw on ordinary-extraordinary individuals and communities who have transformed suffering to strength and built transformative justice and inclusive peace. A significant focus is also to address the refugee crisis, and transform the rising xenophobia and extremism in our societies.

Film: "Fulfilling our Responsibility to Protect"

United Nations Environmental Emergencies Forum, Oslo, June 2015
Fulfilling our Responsibility to Protect

Poem: "Poiesis of Peace"

4. From Dystopia to OURtopia

Programmes in this theme invite us to ‘reshape tomorrow together today’. They address the systemic crises we face in: governance and politics; economics and finance; climate and ecology; culture and religion. They harness our creativity to shape new paradigms and design new systems for the future. They invite us to work together to transform the fragmented and isolating dystopia of ‘I, me and mine’ we now live in to an OURtopia of ‘We, us and ours’ based on humanity, solidarity and collective wellbeing.

Film: "Co-Creating Tomorrow Together Today"

TEDX London Museum, May 2015
From Dystopia to OURtopia

Poem: "OURtopia"


Programmes and services are offered in different formats for diverse audiences and contexts. These range from public artistic performances addressing global issues to keynote addresses, to transformative leadership forums and global policy seminars, to academic teaching, to workshops for war-affected populations, refugees and humanitarian workers.

1. Public Artistic Performances on Global Issues

In cultural and historic venues, concert halls, museums and festivals, Rama offers performances that electrify audiences and engage them in creative interaction and integral dialogue to shape new directions for the future. Rama’s constantly evolving repertoire of public performances on global issues energize large and diverse audiences by speaking directly to their concerns.

Rama often performs with distinguished musicians who share her passion for peace and transformation. She also collaborates with award winning humanist and ecological artists. Following her performances,

Rama facilitates dynamic dialogue and creative interaction with the audience to jointly explore innovative and humane responses to the global and personal challenges we face today.

Eg: ‘The Dynamics of War and Peace’, 1 June 2016, Graduate Institute, Geneva & 14 May 2016, University of Oxford, UK.

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2. Keynote Addresses at Global Summits and Conferences

At global summits and international, corporate and professional conferences and symposia, Rama tailors her enacted keynote presentations to the specific aims of the event. She designs and delivers keynotes afresh for each context, culture and audience.

Her evocative delivery and her inclusive and dynamic facilitation skills foster vivifying dialogue among participants to obtain the highest objectives of the event. Eg: Keynote Address-Performance, UN Environmental Emergencies Forum, organized by UN OCHA, UNEP and Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo, June 2015

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3. Transformative Leadership Forums and Global Security Seminars

Rama offers tailor-made Forums in Transformative Leadership for decision makers in politics, business and international organizations. These forums aim to cultivate visionary leadership and conscious governance for our shared future. They showcase role models of transformative leadership from different sectors around the world with whom Rama has worked. They draw on Rama’s extensive experience in strategic leadership, especially in crisis and transitional situations.

Women leaders: A specific focus of Rama’s work is to champion and nurture emerging women leaders around the world. She particularly supports women in crisis areas in voicing and enacting their visions, and in sharing their wisdom to shape future policies.
Youth leaders: Rama offers specially tailored programmes to inspire, energize and develop pioneering youth and change makers around the world, and in countries in crisis.

Eg: ‘Enacting Transformation: Workshop in Women’s Transformative Leadership’ at Women’s International Networking Summit Rome September 2016

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‘Women Leaders Co-Creating the Future’, Creative Leadership workshop and gala keynote performance at Global Female Leaders Summit, Berlin, April 2015

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4. Global Security Seminars:

Rama offers creative seminars for senior policy makers and practitioners engaged in future planning and crisis management to catalyse transformative processes by blending strategic thinking with the power of creativity.

As Associate Fellow, and former Director of the Global Peace and Security Course, at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, Rama has incorporated the theatre of transformation approach in all her seminars on global security issues in GCSP’s core courses and specialized short courses since 2014. These have profoundly engaged and impacted participating diplomats, military officers, policy makers and practitioners, leading to creative interaction, transparent discussions, and innovative exploration of alternative policy outcomes to build global security.

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5. Voices, Visions and Wisdom Workshops:

Rama offers workshops for communities and individuals facing violent conflict or trauma, and humanitarian organisations serving them. These safe, aesthetic spaces for creative expression enable participants to share their stories, the wisdom of their experiences, and their visions for the future, and accompany them as they forge pathways towards peace and justice.

6. Academic Courses:

Rama designs and teaches academic courses at leading universities and delivers seminars at policy institutes and professional training centres. Combining her transformative approach with her academic knowledge and professional expertise in governance, post-conflict peacebuilding and justice, global and human security, her courses invigorate students through a dynamic and integral learning process and prepares them to apply their knowledge directly to the field.

Regular Academic Courses:
M.A. course on ‘Transformative Justice’, M.A. in Transitional Justice and the Rule of Law, Geneva Academy of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Graduate Institute and University of Geneva, since September 2016

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B.A. course on ‘Becoming Agents of Transformation’, St Gallen University since 2014, jointly taught with Professor Alexander Schieffer, Co-Founder, Trans4m Centre for Integral Development

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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 50 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.

Dr. Rama Mani is an expert in international peace and security,
a poet and performance artist.

In 2013, Rama received the Peter Becker Peace Prize in Germany for the combined impact of her scholarship and practice in peace. 

Rama developed Theatre of Transformation based on her 25 years of experience at both policy and grassroots level in peacebuilding, governance and leadership. Rama’s transformative performances, seminars and teaching raise funds for the peace and solidarity missions she undertakes in countries in conflict, and the innovative humanitarian projects she supports directly.

Rama is a Councilor of the World Future Council, and a Senior Research Associate at the University of Oxford’s Centre for International Studies. With Prof. Jean Houston and Dr. Scilla Elworthy, Rama is the Co-Founder of ‘Rising Women, Rising World’. She serves on the Jury of the  ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’ or the Right Livelihood Award Foundation.

Rama offers transformative seminars and teaching for leaders, policy makers, students and grassroots activists. She teaches policy makers at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, where she is an Associate Fellow. She also teaches on the MA in Transitional Justice at the Geneva Academy for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, and at St. Gallen University, and is invited to teach at universities and institutes around the world.

Rama was earlier Executive Director of the International Centre for Ethnic Studies (Sri Lanka). She was Africa Strategy Manager for Oxfam GB, working in warzones across Africa. She was Director of the Global Peace and Security Course at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, and Senior External Relations Officer of the Commission on Global Governance.

Since 1992, Rama has partnered with and advised United Nations agencies. She has served on several international boards including the Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS); Advisory Board of NATO Defence College, and UNESCO-CISH International Centre for Human Sciences (Lebanon). She authored “Beyond Retribution: Seeking Justice in the Shadows of War” (Polity/Blackwell: 2002/2007) and co-edited “Responsibility to Protect: Cultural Perspectives from the Global South” (Routledge: 2011). 

Rama has a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Cambridge, an M.A. in International Affairs from Johns Hopkins University, and a B.A. in Political Science and French Literature from Bryn Mawr College, USA. She is a French national and overseas citizen of India, where she grew up.

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

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