With the generous support of donors and sponsors, we created hope, opportunity, and understanding in 2022 for thousands of direct beneficiaries in 12 MENA countries and the United States.
In 2022, we provided programs that offered access to life-changing opportunities for education and training to the MENA region’s most vulnerable communities. We advanced quality-of-life prospects for refugees in Jordan and Egypt by providing English language training, academic skills preparation, and STEM programming. We continued to facilitate the participation of individuals with disabilities in educational and cultural exchange programs and in the workforce; in Egypt, the disability centers we helped establish at public universities furthered equitable access to higher education for students with disabilities, and our tailored professional training programs advanced the job prospects of university graduates. Finally, our scholarship programs enabled bright, underserved students from across the Middle East and North Africa to pursue higher education in the United States.
Female labor participation rates in the Middle East and North Africa are among the world's lowest. Even as the educational attainment of the region’s women has risen, their unemployment rates remain high: stubbornly so for those with tertiary degrees despite their valued knowledge and skills. In 2022, we prioritized training for women in employability, entrepreneurship, and leadership skills, and we provided guidance and mentoring designed to increase women’s capacity to make their own decisions and assert a positive impact on their communities. Recognizing that the path to career success begins early in life, we provided girls with opportunities that sparked innovation and creativity, promoted increased self-confidence, and strengthened their ability to become agents of change in their communities.
Today’s increasingly interconnected world requires the development of strategic thinkers who are aware of the challenges facing their communities and have the critical skills needed to develop equitable and sustainable solutions to these challenges. In 2022, we offered myriad pathways for youth in the MENA region to become effective global citizens. Enrollments in our English programs for young learners increased, and we expanded our programming designed to help young learners develop STEM skills—analytical and critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity, and effective communication. An important dimension of our work was to demonstrate the importance of equitable and sustainable global solutions through advocacy, such as at COP27, the global climate change conference in Cairo.
An increasingly globalized world values attributes such as cross-cultural understanding, open-mindedness, empathy, and the ability to appreciate diversity through engaging with others. In addition to providing avenues for language training and academic study, our programs helped prepare young Americans and their MENA counterparts by nurturing cross-cultural partnerships and knowledge exchange, fostering shared experiences that overcome cultural boundaries, cultivating open communication and appreciation for cultural differences, and challenging biases that often preclude authentic cross-cultural understanding.
Education and training are key to the MENA region’s ability to take advantage of its most valuable resource: its large youth population. In 2022, our programs focused on empowering youth economically through employment readiness and entrepreneurship training. We enabled young women and men to advance their proficiency in workplace English, develop an entrepreneurial mindset, and improve their readiness to join/rejoin the job market and take advantage of the increased regional need for bilingual workers as the MENA economy becomes more integrated into the global economy.
Amideast helps public and private institutions in the MENA region build their capacity to meet the needs of their constituencies. In Egypt, through the U.S.-Egypt Higher Education Initiative, we supported the establishment of disability centers at 20 Egyptian universities, thereby advancing Egypt’s goal of ensuring equal access to higher education for individuals with disabilities. In Yemen, we enhanced the ability of civil society organizations to promote peace and local reconciliation initiatives and ultimately strengthen the communities they serve as they struggle to recover from conflict.