NEWS: ‘Equity Catalysts’ Community of Practice – Transforming Leadership in the UK Refugee and Migration Sector

The Migration Exchange community of practice on leadership development, Equity Catalysts: Transforming Leadership in the UK Refugee and Migration Sector, has begun.

December 2023

Project background

Through our engagement and research with the refugee and migration sector, including on leadership development, MEX has learnt that a strategic approach to supporting leadership is needed to sustain the sector’s impact. We have learnt how people value space to connect with peers, to share learning and to access mutual support.

Equity Catalysts is a new Community of Practice led by Reem Assil. It is designed to foster connections, spark conversations, and drive change in the leadership development landscape of the refugee and migration sector in the UK.

Our mission is clear: to make leadership opportunities more accessible, equitable, and impactful. By nurturing existing connections and forging new ones, we aim to bring about systemic change.

Meet our delivery partner leading the Equity Catalyst project

Reem Assil

Reem designs, manages, and facilitates leadership programmes in three languages: English, French, and Arabic. She is a Master Facilitator with +500 hours of facilitation globally across different sectors and generations. A mentor with over 15 years experience in mentoring young people and a certified Transformational Coach. A British Syrian, Reem holds an MSc in Biotechnology. She worked as a Programmes Director and Development Director at Common Purpose between 2018 and 2023. She holds a certificate in Business and Social Justice from the University of Cambridge/ Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), and a certificate in Embodied Conflict Resolution.

To learn more about Reem, read her full bio here.

Our Four-Phase Approach


Reem has outlined the four distinctive phases of the community of practice over the next year. Each is crucial to achieving our goals.

Phase 1: Outreach and Marketing (November 2023)

This is where it all begins. We kickstart our efforts by strategising outreach and marketing approaches, seeking to engage with individuals who share our vision and hope for transformation of the refugee and migration sector. This phase also includes the launch of our sign-up form, inviting you to register your interest. Your feedback will be invaluable in shaping the path forward.

Phase 2: Co-Design Surveys and Focus Groups (November 2023 to January 2024)

Our collaborative process relies on your insights. In this phase, I will initiate the delivery of co-design surveys and plan engaging focus groups where up to 14 participants will have the opportunity to share their experiences and visions. By gathering and analysing this data, we ensure that Equity Catalysts resonates with your aspirations. These sessions will take place online.

Phase 3: Community of Practice Sessions (January 2024 to June 2024)

The heart of our initiative lies within these transformative sessions. Through co- design and planning, I will structure six community of practice sessions, including both online and in-person events, accommodating up to 40 participants. This is where the real magic happens as we collectively decide how we want to shape the future of leadership in the sector.

Phase 4: Dissemination of Knowledge and Reporting (June 2024 to September 2024)

Our journey culminates in the dissemination of knowledge, ensuring that the insights and experiences we gain are shared for the benefit of all. This phase also involves the finalisation of project reporting and documentation. As we reflect on the project’s outcomes and impact, I will invite you to join me on this enriching journey.


If you are interested in hearing updates about the work being done by MEX’s leadership development community of practice, please join our mailing list.

If you would like to get in touch, please email us at