Karim studied political philosophy and urban governance in the Netherlands, Brazil and France. He has worked with a range of development agencies in Latin America and the Middle East in fields including micro-finance, informal housing and local governance. In addition to his strong interest in social and political theory, Karim-Yassin is concerned with the intersection of post-secondary education and development work. After his graduate studies at Sciences Po Paris, he set out to create the Cairo Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CILAS). He serves as Chairman of CILAS Board of Trustees.