Annual Highlights


Empowering Youth and Women—the theme of our 2016 annual report—reflects the growing emphasis of our programming on these two key demographic groups.


Putting Egyptian Youth on a Path to Entrepreneurship

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Participants in the Youth Entrepreneurship Program gather for a group photo.

Forty young Egyptians are their way to realizing their dreams of entrepreneurship thanks to a continuing partnership between AMIDEAST and Citi Foundation. Since March, the 26 men and 14 women in the new Youth Entrepreneurship Program (YEP) have been receiving training and other support that will help them develop and implement their business ideas — and thereby contribute to Egypt’s economic development.

Moving Day in Alexandria

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In July, AMIDEAST/Alexandria relocated its operations to the American Center Alexandria (ACA), home of the U.S. Consulate for many years. Built in the early 20th century, the building is an architectural gem that holds historical and cultural significance for many Alexandrians — a legacy that AMIDEAST is committed to honoring by preserving its structural integrity and respecting its importance to the community.

Accessing a Ladder of Opportunity

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Meet two bright young women who have been on a path of achievement since they joined the English Access Microscholarship (Access) Program. Hadeel, a junior at AUB from Yemen, says, "The Access Program is definitely my starting point to becoming the person I am today and to what I have achieved." Omnia, an Access alumna from Egypt, recounts how the Access Program gave her self-confidence and skills that helped her to realize her dream of admission to medical school.

What Is the "Access" Program?

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"Educational," "exciting," "useful," and "fun" — four adjectives that stand out in a cloud of words that Lebanese youth chose to describe the English Access Microscholarship (Access) Program, a high-impact initiative that AMIDEAST administers in multiple locations on behalf of the U.S. Department of State — in several countries doing so since the program began in 2004.

Meet Our New DKSSF Students

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We’re pleased to introduce our 16 newest DKSSF scholars, now in the midst of their first year of undergraduate studies at colleges and universities across the United States, as well as at two overseas branches. Academic excellence is a prerequisite to joining the program, as DKSSF candidates must be able to stand out in the highly competitive college application process if they are to succeed in winning the scholarships they need in order to realize their college ambitions.

Success Stories Highlight International Women’s Day 2017

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March 8, 2017 — Today, AMIDEAST joins the global community in celebrating International Women’s Day, an annual event dedicated to promoting gender equality and inclusivity by highlighting notable achievements of women in various fields. AMIDEAST is committed to empowering women throughout the Middle East and North Africa by expanding educational and training opportunities that can lead to personal and career success. We are proud to say that our efforts are making a difference—in 2016, women comprised more than half of all students participating in our educational exchange and scholarship programs, and 350 women received employability skills training tailored to help women overcome gender barriers to employment. Take a look at any of our programs throughout the MENA region, and you will find talented women showcasing their intelligence, creativity, and determination. Here are just a few of our most notable stories from the past year: 

Amira studies law at Mansoura University thanks to a scholarship through the U.S.-Egypt Higher Education Initiative (HEI), a USAID-funded program that provides opportunities for undergraduate study at Egypt’s public universities. One of three blind students currently in the HEI program, Amira is challenging herself daily to increase her independence and confidence while pursuing her long-term goal of defending the rights of the poor and underserved members of society.

Skills Program Transforms Women’s Lives

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Lebanese participants in the UfM Skills for Success Program on graduation day.

To date, 495 women in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Morocco have completed AMIDEAST’s Skills for Success® program. Many have since found jobs, started internships, considered starting a business, or returned to school. A surprising outcome, in fact, is that over 40 percent of the graduates across three countries have decided to continue their studies, at university or elsewhere, because of the new-found confidence and determination that they gained in the program. 

“The skills we acquired …gave us self-confidence and motivated us to set goals, plan, and believe that we can achieve whatever we aspire to do and become,” Lebanese graduate Fatima Annan told the UfM conference.

No wonder, then, that the two-year-old program featured prominently at the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM)’s recent high-level conference, “Women for the Mediterranean: Driving Force for Development and Stability.” The assembled ministers, experts, and representatives of international organizations, civil society, and NGOs identified employment creation as key to strengthening the role of women as agents of change for the MENA region.

Far from a Brain Drain ― Fulbright Alumni Are Giving Back

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Fulbright alumna Nataly Naser Al Deen presenting about treating cancer using plant-based chemical compounds.

When Fulbright alumni come together, no problem is too big to solve. This was the unofficial message of the Fulbright Alumni Regional Conference on Natural Resources that was held in Cairo, Egypt, from December 4-8, 2016. This event was the first in a series of seminars designed to bring MENA region alumni together around common professional themes. The Conference on Natural Resources attracted former Fulbrighters working in fields as diverse as cancer research and meteorology. However, all participants had a passion for studying the complex relationship between humans and their environment.  

Adnan Saddiqi, Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. embassy in Cairo, set the tone for the conference when he opened by saying, “Some of the most important natural resources are human resources.” How true this is for the Fulbright program. Fulbright students, scholars, and alumni are invaluable resources. Here is a telling example: after each conference attendee presented their current research and held a Q&A session, there was a flurry of business card exchanges, suggestions, and proposals. There was also interest in future collaboration among these participants.

AMIDEAST/Egypt and Citi Foundation Launch Youth Entrepreneurship Program in Egypt

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Nadir Shaikh, Citi country officer for Egypt (left), and Shahinaz Ahmed, AMIDEAST’s country director for Egypt

Washington, DC, and Cairo, Egypt, December 7, 2016―AMIDEAST/Egypt and Citi Foundation have announced the launch of the Youth Entrepreneurship Program, a two-year partnership aimed at providing economic opportunities that will directly impact 40 aspiring young Egyptian entrepreneurs and further benefit as many as 600 other youth.

The program will focus on building a new generation of entrepreneurs by helping them to get their business ideas off the ground. AMIDEAST is now accepting application online through its webpage,, until January 31, 2017


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