Amideast was pleased to become the in-region partner of the newly created Hope Fund, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization dedicated to helping Palestinian refugee youth access higher education in the United States. That year, our Lebanon office helped the first two Hope Fund scholars, a young man and woman raised in Palestinian camps in Lebanon, earn scholarships from Bridgewater College in Virginia.
Amideast launched the USAID-funded Transparency and Accountability Grants (TAG) project, an initiative that would issue nearly $6.5 million in small grants to Lebanese nongovernmental organizations in the coming decade. The grants enabled them to engage in short-term, high-impact activities in a range of areas, including environmental protection, citizen and women’s rights, rule of law, citizen participation, lobbying, and capacity building. Also beginning in 2001, the Professional Training Program provided advanced training opportunities in the United States, Lebanon, and elsewhere for nearly 3,000 Lebanese professionals, helping to update their skills and knowledge and improve capacity at over 400 Lebanese public, civic, and private institutions.
Amideast was pleased to partner with the U.S. Department of State to launch two high-impact youth programs: the English Access Microscholarship (Access) Program, an initiative that would give underserved youth the opportunity to study English as well as benefit from cultural enrichment activities, and the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program, which would make it possible for youth from around the world to spend a year of high school in the United States. In their first decade alone, Amideast helped some 40,000 Access students in Egypt, Gaza, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, the West Bank, and Yemen improve their English language proficiency and other skills, and enabled nearly 4,000 MENA youth to participate in the YES program.
Launched in 2004 with funding from USAID and the Open Society Foundations, the Palestinian Rule of Law (PROL) program enabled young Palestinian lawyers to pursue their LLMs in the United States, with the goal of creating a cadre of 50 Palestinian lawyers skilled to address rule of law issues in the West Bank and Gaza. In 2013, we supported the Middle East Rule of Law (MEROL) program, which extended this opportunity to young lawyers in other MENA countries.
The success of the AOJS project underway since 1996 led USAID to extend it in 2004 for another five years. In addition to replicating pilot reforms introduced in its first phase throughout the court system, AOJS II supported the efforts of Egypt’s Ministry of Justice to open the judiciary to women. A highlight of the program was a visit of senior Egyptian female judges to Washington, DC, during which they met American counterparts including Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. In addition, Amideast provided training in support of the USAID-funded Strengthening the Independence of the Judiciary and Access to Justice (SIJCAJ) project in Lebanon.
Marking the resumption of our engagement with the Palestinian education sector in support of overdue reforms, Amideast partnered with USAID and the Open Society Foundations to launch the Palestinian Faculty Development Program (PFDP). This 10-year initiative initially offered promising junior faculty of Palestinian universities the opportunity to pursue advanced degrees in their fields. It was later expanded to include advanced systems-level reforms in classroom practices and the establishment of teaching excellence centers at major Palestinian universities. The measures introduced by PFDP led to changes in academic practice that continue to benefit thousands of students each year.
Amideast worked with a consortium to implement the USAID-funded Iraq National Capacity Development Program, or Tatweer, supporting it until 2010. Amideast provided training and opportunities for higher education to help Iraq rebuild the capacity of its key ministries to deliver core services and contribute to a better life for Iraqis.
In partnership with the King Faisal Foundation, Amideast helped establish a foundation-year program at the new King Faisal University for Science and Technology in Riyadh and continued during the program's first five years to guide the development of curriculum; recruitment of faculty, other staff and students; implementation of programs; and quality assurance. Amideast also provided similar support between 2013 and 2017 for the establishment of an English language and technical bridging program at Saudi Electric Services Polytechnic in the Eastern Province to provide highly qualified Saudi technician and other employees for the Saudi Electric Company. In both cases, Amideast coordinated a gradual transition to each institution's ongoing management.
In memory of our late Senior Vice President Diana Kamal, Amideast created the Diana Kamal Scholarship Search Fund (DKSSF) to provide a pathway to U.S. study for promising Arab youth. By 2022, this initiative made it possible for more than 170 deserving young men and women from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen to earn the scholarships to make their dreams of college study in the United States come true.
Beginning with a semester program in Morocco, Amideast Education Abroad quickly expanded to include semester and summer programs in Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Oman, Kuwait, and the UAE. Today, through virtual and onsite semester and summer programs, we offer American students the opportunity to study the MENA region, improve their Arabic language skills, and interact with the peoples and cultures of the region. Short-term programs and custom collaborations with U.S. colleges provide study abroad options for students in a variety of professional and technical fields.
The award of the Model Schools Network (MSN) Project in 2007 initiated a 12-year partnership with USAID and the Palestinian Ministry of Education (MoE) to improve the quality of teaching and learning at Palestinian schools. Through MSN, the Leadership and Teacher Development Project (awarded in 2012), the School Support Project (awarded in 2013), and Education for the Future (awarded in 2017), Amideast introduced a results-based approach to school improvement at 675 schools, as well as accredited in-service diploma programs for principals, teachers, and district-level supervisors. Amideast also contributed to the MoE’s decentralization efforts, alignment of diverse quality standards, and systems-level improvements that enabled schools to become agents of positive, effective educational change.
Amideast hosted its first cohorts of the new YES Abroad program, established by the U.S. Department of State to enable American high school students to study and live in predominantly Muslim countries similar to the opportunities afforded youth from the MENA region and elsewhere through the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program since 2003. Amideast first hosted YES Abroad students in Morocco and Oman in 2009, later expanding to Jordan as well. By 2012, Amideast was also supporting U.S. high school students for summer and academic year intensive Arabic study and cultural immersion in Morocco, Oman and Jordan through the National Strategic Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y).
Beginning in 2010, Amideast undertook a series of efforts designed to advance Yemen’s stability through the positive community engagement of vulnerable youth. The five-year USAID-funded Promoting Youth Civic Engagement (PYCE) project expanded and strengthened interaction between youth and influential community actors and empowered youth to positively affect their local communities through sports, recreational programming, and other community-based activities. Starting in 2017, the three-year Nahdhat Shabab Project, funded by the U.S. Department of State, enabled nearly 800 youth to develop vocational, technical, professional, and business skills and become involved in community rebuilding, restoration, and recovery.