I was born in southern Spain but moved back to Lebanon with my family when I was nine. Every time I travel somewhere new, I try to see things with the same fresh gaze with which I took in my newfound country as a child. I studied Law in Beirut and decided to specialize in Public Law. After obtaining my master’s degree from the Sorbonne, I moved to Madrid to pursue a PhD in Constitutional Law. Little did I know at the time that I would soon be traveling the world to assist countries in their constitutional processes! As I often tell my students, we live in constitutional times. I find it fascinating to be able to approach current social and political challenges and conflicts from a constitutional lawyer’s perspective. When I’m not teaching, I love reading and traveling—both are excellent ways to learn and observe.
Tamara El Khoury has had a close-up view of European and Arab cultures, having lived and worked in both. Such cultural awareness has sharpened her sense of the impact that individuals can make in an institution, and demonstrated to her how rare leadership skills remain.
Having worked in contexts where gender dynamics were particularly challenging, her recent experiences and her life at IE University have shown her just how much our attitudes and perspecitves are shifting. Tamara asserts that one of the most rewarding aspects of her work here is the contribution she’s able to make to that shift.
Combining her teaching work with consultancy in the field, Tamara finds a thrill in her ability to bring some of those experiences, both challenging and rewarding as they have been, into the classroom. This is especially true, she says, in such a diverse environment as IE University.
That opportunity to stimulate minds and trigger curiosity is what brought Tamara into teaching. She sees her role as helping students to understand the importance of facts, and from there build sound arguments and make up their own minds. Even now, with all her experience, she says she still gets questions from students that open her eyes to entirely new perspectives.
For Tamara, teaching is a transformative process. Beyond the pursuit of academic excellence, she finds IE University’s creation of a space where students can grow their social consciousness inspiring. Their engagement in wide-ranging initiatives that serve as extracurricular activities contribute to their growth as citizens, she asserts.
Referring to her teaching specialism, Tamara points out that she always tells students that jobs in Constitutional Law actually exist. More generally, she explains that the purpose of her classes is not so much to learn a given Constitution by heart. Rather, she seeks to impart the ability to grasp the Constitution of any country and get a sense of the system in place, and how it may impact their field of work.
With such sharp cultural awareness, it’s no surprise to learn that Tamara’s biggest passion outside the classroom is reading. She says that to her, reading multiplies space and time, even life itself. For the past ten years, she has also been fencing. The combination of elegance and speed in the sport particularly appeals to her. Apart from those activities, Tamara also enjoys hiking. The feeling you get at the top of a mountain after a hike, shes says, makes every effort to get up there well worth it. Traveling is another actively at the top of her list—she finds an infinite pleasure in sitting in a coffee shop in a place she’s never been before, especially when she can blend in and simply observe.
Asked about the key to success, Tamara is philosophical. To her, the answer to the question is more about how we define success in the first place, and whether we seek what really matters to us. It’s clear she’s done just that, both in her personal and professional passions.