Dr Rola Hallam

Award-winning doctor, humanitarian, campaigner, speaker, social entrepreneur.

Rola has been a doctor for almost 20 years. She has worked across the globe on the frontlines of health care in the UK, Sub-Saharan Africa and Syria during the last decade of war.

A sought after transformational speaker, Rola has shared global stages with presidents, international celebrities and grassroots activists. Her online talks have been viewed over 11 million times, inspiring thousands to become changemakers.

She has been honoured with several awards and is also the first Syrian TED Fellow and founder of CanDo – a humanitarian organisation supporting frontline health and aid workers to save children’s lives in their war-devastated communities. She has helped build 7 hospitals in Syria, including the first ever crowdfunded hospital, all together reaching over 4 million people.

She is a tireless campaigner for the protection of healthcare and children caught up in conflict, as well as for the critical need to focus on the health and wellbeing of frontline health and aid workers.

Her work has been published in The Lancet and featured across the media including the New York Times, The Daily Show and in two BBC documentaries.

‘I was born a doctor. I have always known it was my calling but what I didn’t know was that my home country of Syria would shatter into a thousand little pieces, tearing millions of lives apart and that I would be using my medical skills as a humanitarian.’

Pask Award: In recognition of distinguished service to anaesthesia during conflict overseas

TED fellow, Class of 2018

Lifetime Achievement Award 2019, Women of the Year

Vital Voices 100 Women using their Power to Empower

“Rola, your calling is to touch people’s hearts in ways few people can… a gift and a special light you shine on all of us, an outpouring of support started immediately the moment you left the room.”
Pedro Pina, VP Global Client & Agency Solutions at Google

“I cannot thank you enough for the most wonderful and moving contribution to the Davos dinner, Rola. You were so powerful, so authentic and so impressive with your astonishing courage and compassion. There is not a person there who did not say that you were the most memorable person.”
Tina Brown, Founder & CEO Tina Brown Live Media & Women in the World

“My daughters and I really enjoyed meeting with you. We were so touched by everything you are doing…We will do everything we can to help out.”
Jane Sun, CEO & Founder Trip.com

“Your work continues to be paramount to all that is happening around the world.”
Richard Plepler, Former Chairman and CEO, HBO

I am so inspired by your work, and that of your colleagues. It’s both so sad, and so inspiring at the same time. I am committed to helping you.
Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube

“I am so deeply inspired by your work.”
Alyse Nelson, President & CEO, Vital Voices

Rola is a sought after transformational speaker who has shared global stages with presidents, celebrities and grassroots activists. Her online talks have been viewed over 11 million times, inspiring thousands to become changemakers.

Rola is a powerful and authentic speaker, who is able to connect and  inspire listeners to believe in their own inner remarkable self.  She encourages her audience to believe in their power to stand up, speak out and create positive change.

Using lessons from her work on the frontlines of healthcare and warzones, Rola tells the stories of everyday ordinary people who do extraordinary things, who everyday risk their own lives for others – who are the beacons of light in the darkness of war. Through this she challenges each of us to connect to our inner beacon and dare to believe in our potential, in our possibilities as individuals and as a collective.

Rola shares her message – to truly change the world we need to embrace changing ourselves, that we can’t heal others when we are deeply wounded; that we can’t destroy systems of prejudice and oppression until we can love and accept ourselves and that we can’t create peace until we end the conflict within.

The journey to bettering the world is inextricably linked to our personal journey of self realisation. Central to that self mastery is realising we must nurture and nourish ourselves as we work to create change – love, care and compassion start within ourselves. It is a journey of facing our limitations and embracing our brilliance. Of seeing the worst yet the best of humanity, of facing trauma and burnout and realising we must put the oxygen mask on ourselves first, if we are to lead on the frontlines of change.

As a woman of Arab and Muslim descent, a migrant who didn’t speak English when she arrived in Britain, she speaks with authority on self-belief, the importance of believing in your inner power, making your dreams come true and embracing our feminine qualities.

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