Breaking Barriers: The Embassy Model Supporting LGBTQ+ Staff in the Middle East/North Africa region

Graham Robson April 20, 2023

The upcoming Embassy Model Summit on Tuesday, May 16 in London is set to address the critical issue of supporting LGBTQ+ people in the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region.

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar put a global spotlight on the issues faced by LGBTQ+ people in the region. Sex between men is illegal in nine of the 18 countries that make up the region, and it is punishable by death in six of these 18 countries.

Organised by Laila El-Metoui, founder of UK Queer Arabs and Stonewall Lesbian Role Model, this series of events aim to start a conversation with global organisations on the importance of safety for LGBTQ+ staff in MENA.

“The safety and well-being of LGBTQ+ people in the MENA region is a matter of human rights,” says El-Metoui. “Global corporate organisations have a critical role to play in supporting their LGBTQ+ staff in MENA and creating safe and inclusive workplaces. I believe that the summits have the potential to ignite positive and lasting changes for the LGBTQ+ community in MENA, by creating safer and more inclusive work environments.”

“The Embassy Model Summit is a crucial platform for raising awareness about the challenges faced by LGBTQ+ individuals in the MENA region.”

The conference features world experts, including Dr Nass Mohammed, the founder of the Alwan Foundation, an advocacy charity for LGBTQ+ individuals from the Middle East, and Gurchaten Sandhu, Director of Programmes at ILGA World. David Glasgow, adjunct professor at NYU, will deliver a presentation on how multinationals can advance global LGBTQ+ inclusion using the embassy model.

The Embassy Model Summit Series for LGBTQ+ Staff in MENA aims to provide knowledge and tools to support employees, connect with partners, and create safe mechanisms for understanding LGBTQ+ issues in MENA.

The first summit, sponsored by Pearson with the support of mygwork, will focus on gaining an understanding of the challenges facing LGBTQ+ individuals in the MENA region, understanding the model better and exploring a range of practical solutions to collect workforce data to support employees.

The second summit will focus on promoting LGBTQ+ inclusion in the workplace through policies, sharing success stories, and fostering a more welcoming workplace culture.

The third summit will explore the legal and regulatory landscape impacting LGBTQ+ inclusion in MENA and the steps to move from support to advocacy.

Attendees will have the opportunity to network with other professionals, participate in interactive discussions, and learn from experts in the field.

By the end of the series, attendees will have gained a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by LGBTQ+ employees in the MENA region, as well as practical strategies for creating a more inclusive and supportive workplace.

“The Embassy Model Summit is a crucial platform for raising awareness about the challenges faced by LGBTQ+ individuals in the MENA region,” said Kamran Khan, one of the summit’s expert consultants. “With its focus on sharing best practices, centring the employee experience and lifecycle, cultivating and fostering partnerships, and creating a safer space for dialogue, this summit series has the potential to catalyse real change in advancing LGBTQ+ inclusion and understanding in the MENA region.”

For the full programme and list of consultants for Summit 1: People and Data, CLICK HERE