Happy International Women's Day 2020!

As AMIDEAST works to foster educational and training opportunities around the MENA region, empowering women through our programs and services continues to be a priority.

On this International Women’s Day, we are celebrating the accomplishments of women in the countries in which we work. Here is a sampling of stories of hope and change from each country:

Morocco: Asmaa Hadir, a Tomorrow's Leaders scholar from Morocco, was accepted into the Future Global Leaders (FGL) Fellowship program as part of its Class of 2022! Asmaa, who is majoring in computer science at the American University of Beirut (AUB), is one of 17 fellows who were selected from a pool of 650 international applicants. She is also the first AUB student to be accepted into the fellowship program, which annually selects first-generation university students from around the world to participate in a three-year program, offering them leadership training, mentorship, and internship funding to help them become global leaders.

Egypt: Amal Botros, an Egyptian exchange Arabic teacher through the Teachers of Critical Languages Program (TCLP), has been working with elementary school students in Ohio for the past year! She incorporates many visual and engaging methods into her curriculum to help strengthen her students’ interest in Arabic. Her young students even learned to translate stories from English into Arabic before reading them aloud to one another. Thank you for all hard work, Amal, and for working to build bridges of cultural understanding!

Palestine: Last summer, 30 women from the West Bank advanced their job prospects through AMIDEAST’s Skills for Success® employability skills training program and internships. As a bonus, the top six women were selected to spend two weeks in a professional development boot camp in Washington, D.C., and New York City, where they visited Congress, the United Nations, and a range of organizations to expand their understanding of the professional world. The program also took them to cultural sites such as the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, where they posed for this photo.

Iraq: Iraqi Fulbrighter Zubaidah is one of many amazing women from the region currently pursuing their graduate studies in the United States through the Fulbright Foreign Student Program, which AMIDEAST is proud to help implement. A first-year graduate student, she is studying engineering and robotics at Florida Polytechnic University. She has been enjoying the opportunities of this international study abroad program. That includes taking advantage of the university’s high-tech lab to build an autonomous mobile robot with facial recognition capabilities. Read more of her experiences here.

Saudi Arabia: Layal Al-Braik had a wonderful adventure during her 2018-2019 exchange year in the United States on the the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (KLYES) program – including building bird houses as a community service project! Reminiscing on her experience in a blog at the end of her stay, the young woman from Saudi Arabia wrote, “My passion to explore is what pushed me forward despite the obstacles and challenges. Being a YES alumna is truly a blessing. I'm thankful for every lesson I’ve learned during my exchange year.” Click here to read her full blog post and click here to learn more about the KLYES program!

Jordan: The English Access Microscholarship (Access) Program does not just provide opportunities for young people to strengthen their English language skills: it also gives them the chance to try new activities, learn about other cultures, and engage in group programs! This last year, this group of female Jordanian Access students celebrated Thanksgiving, worked together on community service projects, and even took an extracurricular yoga class at AMIDEAST’s office in Amman.

Tunisia: In December, the American Corner Tunis held a week-long 'Women in STEM Summit' with guest speakers from different STEM fields, who shared their knowledge and experience as women in fields often dominated by men. Throughout the week, expert female scientists, mathematicians, and engineers spoke to the young attendees about how women enhance the STEM fields, how they can prepare for university exams and standardized tests, and how youth can make a positive difference in the future of STEM.

Kuwait: Exploring new ways for AMIDEAST to advance women’s empowerment in Kuwait, staff members from AMIDEAST/Kuwait attended a meeting at the UNDP Kuwait office to discuss the career development program for empowering Kuwaiti women to contribute to the economic and social development of their country! Country Director Samar Khleif and Director of Training Janice Quinn, and Corporate Communications Manager Rasha Zalzala were joined by Dr. Lubna Alkazi, director of the Women’s Research and Studies Center, and representatives from the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait at the meeting.

UAE: Young girls from Ras Al Khaimah are improving their prospects for higher education and employment through the Youth English Program (YEP). In addition to English-language instruction and personal development, the two-year program provides opportunities for cultural enhancement and community engagement! On an outing to the Ras Al Khaimah Fine Arts Festival, the girls spent their day viewing the art by local artists as well as learning more about the art scene in the United States!

Lebanon: May marked the graduation of Lebanese scholar Mia Mansour and six other women from Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine, and Tunisia who completed their undergraduate degrees at U.S. institutions through AMIDEAST’s DKSSF and Hope Fund programs. Mia graduated with a degree in engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, where she participated in an unusual and exciting extracurricular: building and racing cars! Her team, Penn Electric Racing Team, built a race car that placed first nationally each of her four years at UPenn. Mia notes, “AMIDEAST opened my eyes to what lies outside of my small bubble and showed me that it’s possible to deviate from a traditional path.”

Yemen: Girls participating in AMIDEAST/Yemen’s English After School Program (EASP) had the chance to meet and hear from Nagin Cox, a spacecraft operations engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory! She spoke to the students about her career path, engineering as a profession, and her work at NASA. The students in turn had many questions for her about the solar system and discoveries in space. The EASP Program, funded by the U.S. Embassy in Yemen and the U.S. Department of State, provides 100 underserved Yemeni youth with up to two years of English language instruction and many opportunities for personal and professional development.­­­­­­