INEE Member Spotlight: Mona Younes

Location: United States 

Title: Founder & CEO of Beyond Borders

Introduce yourself to other members. Tell us who you are and summarize the work you do or interest you have in EiE.

Having 15+ years of teaching, curriculum design and teacher training experience, I decided in 2014 to start a PhD in Education and Social Justice (Lancaster University). This work, as well as being an active member of INEE since 2014 helped me to be gradually introduced to the wide issues of EiE. Having had acquired a Maters Degree in Online Education helped in finding a specific niche within this wide field, i.e. EdTech for EiE. Being a native Arabic-speaker and having worked in diverse countries within the MENA region formed my main geographic focus area. My PhD research focused on the empowerment of Syrian refugees in Jordan through Blended Learning. However, my passion and interest extends to all displaced persons in the MENA region, and across the globe. 

During the last decade I provided numerous consultancies for UN agencies, e.g. UNICEF, UNRWA, UNHCR; INGO, e.g. War Child Holland, Plan International, Oxfam…etc. uring my work I extended my area of interest to cover the situation of the Rohingya refugees in Cox Bazar, as well as the EdTech projects directed to marginalized teachers and students in Sub-Saharan countries. 

During the COVID-19 outbreak, there was so much to be accomplished, and a lot of organizations in the field turned to ONLINE Learning. This led to the establishment of BEYOND BORDERS, which was able to draw from its expert roster that was constructed over years. 

What has been a highlight of your work as a professional in EiE? Feel free to share a personal story.

During a field mission to conduct research about "Accelerated Education within the MENA region" I traveled Jordan. There I visited a small refugee camp in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the desert that is between the Syrian borders and Zaatari. There I had eye-opening experiences. I observed a math lesson  for children ages 6-12 conducted by the most magnificent teacher I have seen.. She adopted differentiation approaches, moving from one level to another smoothly and seamlessly, despite the fact that the resources at her disposal were literally ZERO. She was teaching 20 children under a  worn out tent in the middle of a very hot summer day. 

The second eye-opening (heartbreaking) moment was when I asked these children about their dreams. One little girl (age around 8) told me she wants to be the director of a huge hospital, another boy wanted to be a pilot, a third wanted to be a world-renown engineer with lots of innovations ...etc. Lots of dreams, but when thinking about it.... these dreams are almost impossible to attain for a simple reason. The education of those displaced children is informal, i.e. is not recognized nor certified. I could later count tens of reasons for that situation, ranging from policy, to poverty, to social norms,....etc. 

It is still a concern that keeps me thinking what can be done to solve this dilemma. There is still a lot that has to be done. 

When and why did you join INEE, and what is the value of INEE membership to you? 

I started to be a member long ago, I think that was 2012.... Being a member helped me tremendously in getting to understand the scope and wide range of issues related to EiE. I got to know so many colleagues. Although I work online, we became like "comrades" . It helped me to start a career in that field.INEE was (for me ) throughout the past years - like a backbone. It is where you would go to read about the latest research, evidence, to get to know the people involved in the field, to stay focused, to find work, to understand how work is progressing, where and by whom.

How do you currently engage with the INEE network? (i.e. a member of an INEE network space or language community; receive news and attend INEE web events from time to time; use INEE EiE resources; etc) 

I am a member of the Distance Education Reference Group; an active facilitator of INEE Meet - Ups and was a co-convenor of the INEE TECH Task Team. 

How would you like INEE members to connect and engage with you? What skills, experience and/or technical support would you be willing to share or provide to other members and/or INEE Secretariat?

I am very much interested to help out with the Anti-racism (Decolonization) work going on, esp. the review of the Minimum Standards (INEE MS). I am also ready to help out with the development of a new INEE MS INDEX. 

Anything else you want to share with members? 

*Published on December 2022.

INEE Member Spotlights consist of text, photos, and/or videos, and are featured via the INEE website, newsletters, and social media channels. If you are interested in participating in the Member Spotlight Series, please complete the submission form in the language of your choice and attach any additional files.

English | français | español | português | العربية 

Submissions can be in text format by completing the form or as a short video (max. 3 min.) answering the same questions. Click for guidance on creating and sharing your profile in video format.

Disclaimer: Submission of a profile does not guarantee inclusion in the INEE Member Spotlight Series. You will be notified if your profile is selected for inclusion.

For questions, please email