TAMAM began when the senior vice president of Dhahran Ahliyya School in Saudi Arabia, Dr. Sally Al Turki, approached two professors at the American University of Beirut (AUB), Dr. Saouma Boujaoude and Dr. Murad Jurdak, to propose a school-based reform initiative that could generate actionable theories grounded in the sociocultural context of the Arab region. The four key concerns that inspired TAMAM were:
(1) the absence of a culturally-grounded, research–based body of educational knowledge in line with international best practices yet capable of addressing the challenges of Arab educational practitioners, (2) the lack of agency and preparedness among school-based practitioners to lead innovative school improvement; (3) the compromised quality of professional development programs offered to Arab educational practitioners; and (4) the lack of accountability and evidence-informed decision-making at all levels of the educational system.
Dr. Al Turki, Dr. BouJaoude and Dr. Jurdak drafted the initial design in 2007, securing its first grant from the Arab Thought Foundation with an emphasis on introducing action research as a tool for development at all levels.
Dr. Rima Karami, an associate professor at AUB, joined TAMAM as a researcher two months after the project launching and soon became one of its three principal investigators and a member of its Steering Team. At that early stage, the initial design did not include fully developed objectives and strategies for implementation. Consequently, a large part of Dr. Karami’s role in the first Phase of TAMAM consisted of conceptualizing the link between action research and school-based improvement and identifying the strategies to achieve TAMAM’s goals. This resulted in designing professional development (PD) activities for building leadership capacity to initiate and drive school improvement. In 2012, Dr. Karami completed the first design of the Capacity Building Program (Documented in Technical Report Four) that became the blueprint that defined the Capacity Building Program and framed research studies for TAMAM. This PD model also served as the basis for securing three additional grants from the Arab Thought Foundation, totaling close to $2,000,000 and making TAMAM the longest continuously–funded educational research project in the history of AUB.
Starting in 2015, Dr. Karami transitioned into the role of fully leading the research and development activities of TAMAM as its creative director while two of the TAMAM initiators (Dr. Al-Turki and Dr. BouJaoude) continued their contribution to the project in an advisory role. Since 2015, the TAMAM Steering Team, led by Dr. Karami and composed of a team of researchers, designers and consultants, is leading the research and development activities of TAMAM.