New Country Directors for Morocco and Tunisia

AMIDEAST is pleased to announce the appointment of Ms. Jennifer Smith as our country director for Tunisia and Dr. Chris Shinn as our country director for Morocco. Under their leadership, AMIDEAST will continue to support the efforts of both countries to expand training and educational opportunities, particularly among less advantaged groups and for youth and women.  

Chris Shinn, Morocco

After serving as AMIDEAST’s country director for Tunisia since August 2013, Chris Shinn became our country director for Morocco in May, bringing to this position his extensive experience in international education, including nearly a decade directing AMIDEAST programs in the West Bank and Gaza prior to his service in Tunisia. 

Former Ambassadors, including AMIDEAST Leadership, Urge Support for Exchange Programs

International exchange programs got a huge boost of support this week as 163 former U.S. ambassadors sent a letter to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the U.S. House and Senate Appropriations Committees urging them to support full funding in fiscal year 2018 for the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA).

Education Hero Award Gala Will Support Youth Programs in Lebanon

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Our first annual AMIDEAST Award Gala will support the diverse educational and training services that have already touched the lives of more than 500,000 residents of Lebanon.

On October 14, 2017, AMIDEAST will join with the AMIDEAST/Lebanon Advisory Board to inaugurate its first annual Award Gala. We look forward to welcoming 700 guests to the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, as we honor the first AMIDEAST Education Hero Award recipient, a well-regarded individual whose contributions have advanced educational opportunities in Lebanon. 

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.

Immigration Executive Order Entangles Exchange Programs

As a member of the Alliance for International Exchange, AMIDEAST would like to share the Alliance’s statement regarding the executive order issued by President Trump, suspending visas to people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

Hope Fund Scholar, Fulbright Alumna Win Prestigious Rhodes Scholarships

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Palestinian Hope Fund Scholar Hashem Abu Sham'a (left) and Lebanese Fulbrighter Diala al Masri were selected from among hundreds of applicants to receive prestigious Rhodes Scholarships to study at Oxford University starting in fall 2017.  They have the distinction of being two of the first three individuals to win the new Rhodes Scholarship for Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine (SJLP), which was awarded in late November.  

Hashem, who grew up in Arroub Refugee Camp in Palestine, received a scholarship through the Hope Fund to attend Earlham College, where he will complete his bachelor’s degree in peace and global studies with a minor in economics in May 2017. At Earlham, he has clearly impressed his teachers and fellow students. “Hashem is like so many of Earlham's students, who are very bright, very active, and very concerned with the world around us,” said Academic Dean Greg Mahler of his selection to receive the Rhodes.

Jordanian Fulbright Alumna Receives Global Changemaker Award

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Dr. Dajani (second from left) and the other recipients of the Global Changemaker Award

Dr. Rana Dajani, an alumna of the Fulbright Foreign Student Program, was one of seven outstanding Fulbright alumni to receive the inaugural Global Changemaker Award, bestowed by the Institute of International Education (IIE) in celebration of the Fulbright program's 70th anniversary.  In selecting Dr. Dajani, the IIE noted that she has “become an influential female in the Middle East, as both a scientist and civic leader.” 

Dr. Dajani came to the United States on the Fulbright Program to pursue graduate studies in molecular biology at the University of Iowa, where she received her Ph.D. Currently an assistant professor and former director of the Center of Studies at the Hashemite University in Jordan, she has been recognized for her research focused on genome-wide association studies concerning diabetes and cancer in ethnic populations in Jordan, as well as her advocacy of the theory of biological evolution and its compatibility with Islam.

Yemeni Alumnus Appointed to UN Youth Advisory Board

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Farea al-Muslimi, an alum of several AMIDEAST programs, was appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon to the new UN Advisory Group of Experts for the Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security. The appointment, which took place in August 2016, is just the latest in a string of achievements for Farea.

Farea spent a year of high school in California on the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program—a year that he calls “one of the richest and best” of his life―and the completed his undergraduate studies at the American University of Beirut on a scholarship through the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI)’s Tomorrow’s Leaders Scholarship Program. But the true turning point in his life, he says, was when he received a grant from the U.S. Department of State to study English at AMIDEAST/Sanaa for a year.

AMIDEAST Awards Support Funds to Yemeni Students

AMIDEAST is pleased to announce that it has awarded funds to 14 highly-qualified, degree-seeking Yemen students currently studying at higher education institutions throughout the United States under the Yemen Emergency Student Support Fund (YESSF). These YESSF grants were made possible by generous donations provided by private individuals, including Sheikh Abdullah Ahmed Bugshan.

The Yemen Emergency Student Support Fund was established by AMIDEAST to help Yemeni students in the United States whose financial status has been directly impacted by the current crisis in Yemen.  We were pleased to be able to make these contributions to assist Yemeni students complete their studies in the United States.

— September 2015

On Yemen: In Memory of Fulbright Alumnus Abdulkarem Ghazi

September 10, 2015

Dear AMIDEAST Friend,

It is with great sadness that I inform you of the death of a Yemeni Fulbright alumnus, Abdulkarem Ghazi, a victim of the conflict in Yemen. Abdulkarem was one of two workers for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) killed by an armed gunman attacking an ICRC convoy in the Huth district of Amran.

 AbdulKarem’s death is one more tragedy for Yemen — the untimely death of a young person deeply committed to using his knowledge and skills to benefit his country. Abdulkarem had returned to Yemen after completing his master’s degree in Nursing Administration at Kent State University in 2009.


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