Arab Digital Expression Foundation





7 Street 23, Al Abageyah, El Mokattam


Cairo, Egypt


Digital media education

Contact InfluenceWatch with suggested edits or tips for additional profiles.

Arab Digital Expression Foundation (ADEF) is an advocacy group based in Egypt that supports artists, journalists, researchers, and other content creators, and seeks to reform the education systems of Egypt and other Arab countries. In addition to its presence in the Middle East, the ADEF is also active within the Arab diaspora in Germany. 1

ADEF was prominent in the organizing that led up to the 2011 Arab Spring, the series of uprisings against autocratic governments in the Middle East. 2 3 In addition, the ADEF backed the 2022 wave of protests against the Iranian regime following the death of an activist in Iranian law enforcement custody. 4


Arab Digital Expression Foundation provides education on a variety of digital media skills such as visual and sound design, video editing and music composition, and computer modeling and programming. The organization offers both direct instruction through schools and extracurricular programs, as well as education of teachers. For young adults, ADEF sponsors workshops, residency programs, and other resources used by artists and content creators. 5 ADEF provides grants for some of its programs and funds some programs via crowdfunding. 6 7 8


Arab Digital Expression Foundation has participated in international movements pushing for changes in Internet and social media governance. In November 2014, it endorsed a campaign against perceived discrimination by Internet service providers in the form of reduced-speed web traffic channels—sometimes referred to as “slow lanes”—which aligned itself with the “net neutrality” initiative of then-President Barack Obama. 9

Four years later, it signed an open letter to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg calling on him to revise his platform’s appeals process, claiming that the existing rules “exhibit bias and are unevenly applied across different languages and cultural contexts.” The letter did not mention the platform’s treatment of political speech. Other notable signatories to the letter included the left-wing American Civil Liberties Union, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Human Rights Watch, and the Prostasia Foundation. 10


Arab Digital Expression Foundation has received significant funding from the Foundation to Promote Open Society, one of the major grantmaking entities within the Soros Network. In 2015, the foundation issued several grants to ADEF, including a $512,000 grant for advancing liberal causes through technology and a $40,000 grant for funding journalists opposing the Egyptian government. 11 In 2016, the foundation issued another $512,000 grant to the ADEF. 12


Emad Saleh is a technology manager at Arab Digital Expression Foundation. He previously worked as a consultant to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Saleh attended the University of Cairo. 13

Lamiaa Said is a project manager at ADEF. She previously worked as a consultant to the Environment and Development Group, an Egypt-based non-governmental organization that collaborated with the United States Agency for International Development. 14


  1. “About ADEF.” Arab Digital Expression Foundation. Accessed February 5, 2023.
  2. Ron Nixon. “U.S. Groups Helped Nurture Arab Uprisings.” New York Times. April 15, 2011. Accessed February 5, 2023.
  3. Victoria Särnhult. “Arab Digital Expression Foundation.” Cybertalks. March 19, 2020. Accessed February 5, 2023.
  4. “We stand in solidarity with Iranian women and protesters.” Article19. October 7, 2022. Accessed February 5, 2023.
  5. “About ADEF.” Arab Digital Expression Foundation. Accessed February 5, 2023.
  6. “Arab Digital Expression Camps.” IndieGoGo. Accessed February 6, 2023.
  7. “Support ADEC teens Freedom of Expression.” IndieGoGo. Accessed February 6, 2023.
  8. Jadaliyya Reports, “Arab Digital Expression camps: 2014 summer program for Arab youth.” 2014. Accessed February 6, 2023.
  9. “President Obama’s call for strong rules against Internet slow lanes a positive sign for Internet users around the world.” OpenMedia. November 10, 2014. Accessed February 5, 2023.
  10. “An Open Letter to Mark Zuckerberg.” Human Rights Watch. November 14, 2018. Accessed February 5, 2023.
  11. Foundation to Promote Open Society. Return of a Private Foundation (Form 990-PF). 2015. Accessed February 5, 2023.
  12. Foundation to Promote Open Society. Return of a Private Foundation (Form 990-PF). 2016. Accessed February 5, 2023.
  13. “Emad Saleh.” LinkedIn. Accessed February 5, 2023.
  14. “Lamiaa Said.” LinkedIn. Accessed February 5, 2023.
  See an error? Let us know!