The Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) Alumni Network aims to create a sustainable network of civil society activists, business professionals, and entrepreneurs that benefited from MEPI projects across the MENA region. Through this network, MEPI Alumni will have the opportunity to meet and connect so they can inspire each other and work together on advancing reform in the region through a variety of activities including trainings and workshops, panel discussions, and community projects.
AMIDEAST/Jordan, through a grant from MEPI, is managing the Egypt and Jordan branches of the MEPI Alumni Network. Both the Egypt and Jordan chapters organize workshops and trainings covering a variety of topical subjects including:
- Business Planning
- Civic Participation
- Conflict Resolution
- Media Capacity Building
- Community’s Role in Impacting the Upcoming Parliamentary General Elections held on July 17, 2010. In support of NEA’s strategic goal to promote democratic reforms and civic participation, the Jordan chapter of the MEPI Alumni Network held a workshop on “Strengthening of Community Control on the General Elections”. The 75 participants - including MEPI alumni, media specialists, bloggers, researchers, and civil society activists - discussed strategies on how to encourage community involvement in the upcoming parliamentary elections.
- Introduction to Model United Nations for University Students held on July 21, 2010. Twenty students from Petra University participated in an academic simulation of the United Nations. The aim of the simulation was to educate participants about civics, current events, effective communication, globalization and multilateral diplomacy. The training was of part of the preparations for the first MUN conference scheduled for September 2010. The training was conducted by four MEPI Alumni.
- Needs & Requirements: Taking the Next Step in Business held on July 24, 2010. As part of MEPI’s economic programs focusing on entrepreneurship, MEPI Alumni Network/Jordan chapter held a training session addressing economic and employment growth driven by private sector expansion and entrepreneurship. The training session also addressed the various types of economic opportunities and methods that help create business growth. The training aimed to help participants at improving their communication in the public sector and find ways to create safe forums to voice their concerns and needs.
- Empowering Election Candidates held on July 27, 2010. The training aimed to strengthen the capacity of those who want to run for elections. The training topics included legislative processes, community outreach, personal and professional skills in parliamentary practice, and fostering cooperation and information exchange between the legislature and other sectors of society. Minister of Parliament Affairs along with 70 participants including former parliament members, potential candidates, and civil society activists participated in the session.
- Model United Nations Training held on August 10, 2010. The Jordan chapter of the MEPI Alumni Network held the third training session on “Introduction to Model United Nations (MUN)” for university students in the Southern city of Jordan, Ma’an. Fifteen youth/university students from the South of Jordan participated in an academic simulation of the United Nations. The aim of the simulation was to educate participants about civics, current events, effective communication, globalization and multilateral diplomacy. The training was of part of the preparations for the first MUN conference scheduled for September 2010.The training was conducted by four MEPI Alumni.
- Impact of Reform Initiatives held on September 1, 2010. The general discussion emphasized that the Jordanian experience with reforms has shown that donor support is most needed, and indeed most effective. Among the attendees were Minister of Political Development, political party leaders, media, and civil society activists.
- Second Session: Model United Nations Conference held on September 25, 2010. In support of MEPI’s initiatives to empower youth leadership and encourage civic participation and better understanding of global diplomacy, the Jordan chapter of the MEPI Alumni Network held the First Jordan University Students Model United Nations Conference at the Jordanian Parliament. Fifty students from a number of Jordanian universities participated in the conference.
- Second Session: Empowering Election Candidates held on September 26, 2010. The Minister of Parliament Affairs along with 60 participants including former Parliament members, potential candidates, and civil society activists participated in the session. Topics included communication skills, public speaking, management of election campaigns, and public work skills. Building upon the previous training in public speaking, participants discussed how to strengthen the capacities of candidates through legislative activities as well as how to strengthen parliamentary.
- Conflict Resolution and Negotiation Skills held on July 21, 2010. In support of NEA’s strategic goal to promote democratic reforms and civic participation, the Egypt chapter of the MEPI Alumni Network held a workshop on “Conflict Resolution and Negotiation Skills“. The 15 participants - including MEPI alumni, researchers, and civil society activists - discussed skills and different methods of conflict resolution and approaches to negotiations. The workshop was conducted by Mohamed Shehab El Din, an expert in International Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution. The trainer focused on the importance of understanding negotiation, which is a method of settling conflict rather than resolving it.
- B2B Entrepreneur Conference held on September 18-19, 2010. Over 250 participants from 25 countries of the Mediterranean basin, North Africa, and Middle East including several MEPI Alumni attended the third annual meeting held in Cairo. The objective of the conference was to foster: collaboration amongst associations, promotion of entrepreneurship, and new strategy implementation. The conference hosted a number of business leaders and government ministers such as Eng. Rachid Mohamed Rachid, Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr. Mahmoud Mohy El Din, Minister of Investment, Eng. Amr Assal, Chairman of the Industrial Development Authority (IDA), Ministry of Trade and Industry, Eng. Nageeb Sawiris, Chairman of Orascom Telecom, and many others.
- Features of 2010 Parliament in Egypt held on September 21, 2010. In support of NEA’s strategic goal to promote democratic reforms and civic participation, the Egypt chapter of the MEPI Alumni Network organized a seminar focusing on the structure of the new 2010 Egyptian Parliament. MEPI’s Network participation as an organizer of such activity is considered a major breakthrough in Egypt as the seminar addressed civic society involvement in crucial issues that affect the promotion of reforms introduced by local and foreign initiatives. The seminar was attended by 125 participants, representing different sectors, mainly NGOs, civil society organizations, media, and research centers.
- Needs and Requirements for Sustaining a Business held on September 22, 2010. The session addressed issues related to the culture of entrepreneurship and the current economic situation. Specific discussions covered the need of job seekers to make their own way rather than depend on the government for a civil service jobs. Trainers shared information on new initiatives to encourage innovation, creativity and self dependence for economic growth and development, as well as the changing needs and demographics of the country.
- Strengthening Ties between Media and Civil Society held on September 25, 2010. The “Strengthening Ties between Media and Civil Society” workshop assisted NGOs representatives to understand and effectively engage with the media as part of a broader advocacy strategy. Through enabling reporters and journalists to familiarize themselves with the techniques of covering socially sensitive issues, the workshop highlighted strategies to improve networking between the media and civil society organizations. Participants received training on introduction to dealing with media, communication and networking skills, introduction to media interviews, press conference, media spokesperson, press releases, and how to befriend the media.
- Developing a Business Plan and Marketing Process held on September 29, 2010. In support of MEPI’s commitment to entrepreneurship, MEPI Alumni Network Egypt chapter held a training session on how to develop a business plan and marketing strategy. The session aimed to raise awareness of attendees on the elements of marketing. Topics included the five stages of strategic planning: strategic management, marketing basics, strategic marketing planning, strategic planning vs. marketing planning, marketing/strategy interface, marketing research, and SWOT analysis.