Alumni Community Action Grant 2017 - 2019

Project Profiles


2019 ACAG

Alumni Implementer: Keltouma Guerch

Fulbright Grant Year: 2012

Fulbright Grant Host Institution: Kent State University

Project Name: Autistic Children Outdoors

Project Location: Morocco

Project Description: Between September 2018 and June 2019, Keltouma Guerch led the “Autistic Children Outdoors” project which helped build the capacity of 40 autistic children in Morocco to succeed in situations of social anxiety, phobias towards animals, and other external stimuli. Guerch worked with children and their parents to provide horse-riding therapy sessions, cultural excursions, and swimming lessons. The project provided educators with methods and equipment to better assist the children and their families.



2019 ACAG

Alumni Implementer: Abdullah Al-Ghurban

Fulbright Grant Year: 2005

Field of Study: Educational Administration/Higher Education Administration

Fulbright Grant Host Institution: Southern Illinois University at Carbondale

Project Name: A TESOL Teacher Training Course for English Language Teachers

Project Location: Yemen

Project Description: In 2019, Abdullah Al-Ghurban trained 36 Yemeni teachers on the best practices and methods for effective TESOL instruction in and around Sana’a, Yemen. Al-Ghurban leveraged his 26 years of experience to design and implement the five-week training using best practices and methods he learned in the U.S. on his Fulbright grant. Al-Ghurban designed the project so that Yemeni students could improve their English skills in order to pursue their academic and professional aspirations. Al-Ghurban hopes to use the project as a launchpad to establish a TESOL association for Yemeni teachers.



2019 ACAG

Alumni Implementer: Hosam Alraqiq

Fulbright Grant Year: 2018

Field of Study: Dental Public Health

Fulbright Grant Host Institution: Boston University

Project Name: A Children’s Oral Health Assessment in Tripoli, Libya

Project Location: Libya

Project Description: Hosam Alraqiq’s project “A Children’s Oral Health Assessment in Tripoli, Libya” trained 12 Libyan dentists on proper methods for youth dental screening and data collection. He also updated current screening forms used throughout the region, and supported the documentation and reporting of 1,000 child dental screens conducted by dentists. This project helped establish a standardized system for data collection and reporting in Tripoli. Additionally, Alraqiq designed a “train-the-trainer” method in which trained dentists went on to train other dentists.



2019 ACAG

Alumni Implementer: Mohialdeen Alotumi

Fulbright Grant Year: 2004

Field of Study: Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

Fulbright Grant Host Institution: Murray State University

Project Name: Project of English for Graduating Students (PEGS)

Project Location: Faculty of Languages, Sana’a University, Sana’a, Yemen

Project Description: The English Project for Graduating Students provided nearly 600 graduating English as a Foreign Language students with the necessary skills and knowledge to find and apply for jobs in today’s market in Yemen. By the end of Dr. Alotumi’s workshop, the students were able to efficiently search for jobs, write a professional cover letter, build a well-structured CV, prepare for a job interview, and seek out and participate in ongoing professional development opportunities.



2018 ACAG




Alumni Implementer: Dima Matta                 

Fulbright Grant Year: 2011              

Field of Study: Creative Writing

Fulbright Grant Host Institution: Rutgers University           

Project Name: Love Letters to Meem

Project Location: Lebanon

Project Description: Since returning to Lebanon with her MFA in Creative Writing from Rutgers University, Dima Matta has helped young people express themselves creatively, both through her teaching at the University of Balamand and through "Cliffhangers", a monthly storytelling night held in Beirut. Matta’s latest project is entitled "Love Letters to Meem". “Meem” refers to the LGBTQ community in Lebanon. The project entails a creative writing workshop in which participants write love letters to themselves. Artists working in different mediums adapted these letters into original works of art, in collaboration with the writers. The project culminated in a public exhibition featuring visual arts pieces, music, film, dance, and theater performances. Matta sees the project as a crucial way for members of a community to foster a positive self-image and express themselves freely.



2018 ACAG

Alumni Implementer: Mazen Naim

Fulbright Grant Year: 2018

Field of Study: Public and Nonprofit Management

Fulbright Grant Host Institution: University of Pittsburgh

Project Name: Universal Leader

Project Location: Gaza

Project Description: Mazen Naim understands the importance of leadership skills. Growing up in Beit Hanoun, Gaza, Naim wanted to help create a better community for his hometown after returning from a Fulbright at the University of Pittsburgh. One strategy that Naim implemented with the support of the Alumni Community Action Grant is the “Universal Leader”, a project to produce a series of leadership training videos for young Palestinians. Recognizing that leadership is not emphasized enough in the education system in Gaza, Naim decided to provide both direct training sessions to local youth and filming ten videos that focused on different leadership concepts. Naim is thankful for the project, as he sees it as a way to give back to his community.



2018 ACAG

Alumni Implementer: Nour El-Bashiti

Fulbright Grant Year: 2018             

Field of Study: Speech-Language Pathologist

Fulbright Grant Host Institution: University of Florida      

Project Name: Speech-Language Pathologists Training for Cleft Palate Cases

Project Location: Morocco

Project Description: Concerned by the lack of well-trained speech-language pathologists in the Middle East and North Africa, Dr. Nour El-Bashiti decided to take matters into her own hands. After earning her doctorate in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences at the University of Florida through the Fulbright Scholarship, Dr. El-Bashiti elected to give back to the nascent speech pathology field by creating a semi-automated training workshop to spread her knowledge of cleft lip and cleft palate to a select group of speech therapists. Using funds from the Alumni Community Action Grant, Dr. El-Bashiti continued her training series through auditory and clinical applications. After serving the speech pathology community in the region, Dr. El-Bashiti is proud to have contributed to the improvement of hundreds of cases involving children with cleft lip and cleft palate and helped teach valuable information to the next group of speech pathologists in the region.



2018 ACAG

Alumni Implementer: Mohialdeen Alotumi

Fulbright Grant Year: 2004

Field of Study: Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

Fulbright Grant Host Institution: Murray State University

Project Name: Computer-Assisted Language Learning Project

Project Location: Department of English, Faculty of Education, Sana’a University, Sana’a, Yemen

Project Description: Dr. Mohialdeen Alotumi seeks to enrich other educators in the benefits of Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL). Through Dr. Alotumi’s two years with the Fulbright Program at Murray State, he realized that the world is such a culturally rich and diverse village connected by technology. This experience has shaped his interest in the latest trends in the English language teaching field, including in CALL. Dr. Alotumi implemented the Computer-Assisted Language Learning Project in various universities in Yemen to augment student teachers’ experiences with CALL. After garnering widespread support for his project from faculty, Dr. Alotumi educated students on the latest techniques in using CALL for English language teaching. Perhaps most impressively, Dr. Alotumi has ensured the project’s sustainability through a variety of virtual forums on Facebook and Youtube to provide aid, updated resources, and the latest news in CALL. Dr. Alotumi was proud of all he was able to accomplish and declares that the Computer-Assisted Language Learning Project was undoubtedly a success.



2018 ACAG

Alumni Implementer: Jambally Mohammed

Fulbright Grant Year: 2009             

Field of Study: Interdisciplinary Studies: GIS and Community Planning

Fulbright Grant Host Institution: Texas Tech University  

Project Name: Children in Community Planning, Dohuk City         

Project Location: Iraq

Project Description: Jambally Mohammed knew he wanted to mix design and community service for school-children in Dohuk City. After completing the Fulbright program at Texas Tech with a focus in Geographic Information Systems and Community Planning, Mohammed works in the spatial planning department of the University of Dohuk. In an effort to give back to his community, Mohammed devised a program to teach children the fundamentals of urban planning while also encouraging them to design their ideal city. The students used the lessons taught by Mohammed as the foundation to create their own city plans. Through the Alumni Community Action Grant, Mohammed was able to gather the materials and assistants needed to provide children in his community with a taste of urban planning.



2018 ACAG

Alumni Implementer: Bouzekri Touri          

Fulbright Grant Year: 2015             

Field of Study: Psychology/Communication Sciences and Disorders

Fulbright Grant Host Institution: The University of Texas at Austin

Project Name: Communication Disorders Diagnosis of Public School Pupils

Project Location: Morocco

Project Description: As a PhD grantee in psychology and communication disorders at the University of Texas at Austin, Bouzekri Touri gained extensive experience with research analyzing communication disorders in children. He saw an opportunity to increase awareness and treatment of these disorders in his home country of Morocco, where many students drop out of school before completing their secondary education, in part because of undiagnosed communication disorders. Touri organized a series of lectures and trainings in order to help public school teachers in the Regional Training Center of Teachers in Casablanca (CRMEF) recognize and treat communication disorders in school children with the help of school therapists and administrators. The early diagnosis and rehabilitation of students increase their chances of performing well in school and decreases the drop-out rate. Touri hopes to coordinate further with Morocco’s Ministry of Education in order to create a large-scale educational therapy initiative in the country designed to combat dropout rates and enhance student success in school.



 2018 ACAG

Alumni Implementer: Ala’ Khalifeh

Fulbright Grant Year: 2005                                

Field of Study: Electrical and Computer Engineering

Fulbright Grant Host Institution: University of California, Irvine

Project Name: Early Entrepreneurship Exploration 

Project Location: Jordan

Project Description: After completing his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of California, Irvine, Ala’ Khalifeh saw a unique opportunity to increase entrepreneurship in the tech and engineering fields in his home country of Jordan. As a professor of computer engineering at the German Jordanian University, Khalifeh is organizing a series of entrepreneurship workshops and competitions for university students. The workshops give students the ability to develop business plans and learn from top industry professionals in their fields. Having participated in several entrepreneurship competitions, Khalifeh is connecting his students with both local and regional competitions in Jordan. These competitions give his students a chance to test their ideas and gain exposure to the wider business world. Khalifeh plans to keep mentoring his students after the workshops finish in order to help them develop their projects into fully-formed businesses.



2018 ACAG



Alumni Implementer: Hiba Hamdan

Fulbright Grant Year: 2012

Field of Study: Molecular & Cell Biology

Fulbright Grant Host Institution: Georgia Institute of Technology

Project Name: DREAMS: A Precollege Boot Camp

Project Location: Lebanon

Project Description: Based on her own experience as a research associate and stemming from her students’ testimonies at the University Preparatory Program at the American University of Beirut, Hiba aims to give students the same transformative opportunity to acquire life-long skills to not only excel in school but also provide them with coaching and career advice. As a trainer and consultant, Ms. Hamdan has co-designed and delivered training sessions on teaching strategies, classroom management, student-centered and interdisciplinary teaching (including STEM). On the heels of her 2016 ACAG project that brought scientific inquiry to middle-school students, Ms. Hamdan is applying these same hands-on learning approaches for 10th-grade students. Hiba is coordinating with a team of experts to help transform the lives of students from public and private high schools in Lebanon as they prepare to embark on their future path to life-long learning in science and other disciplines.




2018 ACAG

Alumni Implementer: Fatma Aljarrah

Fulbright Grant Year: 2014

Field of Study: TESOL- Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

Fulbright Grant Host Institution: University of Wisconsin, River Falls

Project name: Restoration and Empowerment of Pre-service English Language Teachers (REPELT)

Project Location: Gaza

Project Description: As a TESOL instructor herself, Fatma Ajarrah wanted to develop a training to build the capacity of TESOL instructors in Gaza and equip them with more practical and theoretical tools to be prepared in the classroom. REPELT was an intensive training program for empowering pre-service English language teachers to develop their competencies to match the requirements of the local teaching environment in the Gaza Strip. The project aimed at bridging the gap between what prospective teachers have learned and the reality of the work conditions in the schools of the Gaza Strip, specifically those operated by UNRWA. The REPELT program pulled the knowledge that EL teachers have gained in university and applied it to a practicum that reflects the live classroom. This pre-career professional development project helped to enhance the participants in all aspects of the teaching experience.  



2018 ACAG

Alumni Implementer: Anas Bahnassi

Fulbright Grant Year: 1998

Field of Study: Pharmaceutical Sciences 

Fulbright Grant Host Institution: Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

Project name: “Pharmacovigilance: A step in the right direction to improve patient’s safety”

Project Location: Lebanon

Project Description: As an industry leader in the pharmaceutical industry who also serves as a continuing education provider, Dr. Anas Bahnassi developed, coordinated and helped moderate a series of workshops centered on pharmacovigilance and its role in assuring patient safety, for Lebanese and Syrian healthcare practitioners. Through a series of modules, pharmacists were able to develop their awareness and understanding of the monitoring and reporting of adverse drug reactions in the provision of safe and effective drug therapy. After the training, these professionals are now committed to working together to ensure continuous and proper reporting of adverse drug reactions and have committed this program’s success.



2017 ACAG

Alumni Implementer: Yosra Abid

Fulbright Grant Year: 2010

Field of Study: Law

Fulbright Grant Host Institution: Pepperdine University School of Law, Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution

Project name: “Bringing Mediation to Law School”

Project Location: Tunisia

Project Description: Yosra Abid is the President of the Tunisian Association for ADR and an advocate for the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) techniques. One such technique is mediation, but according to Yosra, this concept is not frequently taught in Tunisian law schools. Yosra’s Alumni Community Action Grant project, “Bringing Mediation to Law School,” plans to remedy this by providing mediation workshops at four law schools in Tunisia. These sessions will familiarize more than 80 students and 40 faculty members with the benefits of mediation and will encourage them to utilize it in their own law practices. Yosra hopes that these workshops will empower law students to be advocates for mediation techniques in their own careers.”



2017 ACAG

Alumni Implementer: Frida Kiriakos

Fulbright Grant Year: 2013

Field of Study: Computer Science

Fulbright Grant Host Institution: California State University

Project name: Information Technology Career Prep Program

Project Location: Jordan

Project Description: As a recent graduate of California State University’s program in computer science, Frida Kiriakos is eager to help other young students become successful in the field. To encourage more high school and undergraduate students in Jordan to pursue exciting computer science careers, she is leading the Alumni Community Action Grant Project, “Information Technology Career Prep Program.” The project will consist of a series of workshops taught by information technology professionals that will explain the career opportunities available to computer science students after graduation. Kiriakos hopes to one day expand the project into a long-term mentorship program for high-achieving students.



2017 ACAG

Alumni Implementer: Ahmed Saleh

Fulbright Grant Year: 2011

Field of Study: Entrepreneurship

Fulbright Grant Host Institution: University of Chicago

Project name: Geek Factory Programming Bootcamp

Project Location: Egypt

Project Description: Ahmed Tawfic Saleh is Co-Founder and Managing Director of Geekfactory, a programming academy. According to Saleh, Egypt’s computer programming job market is experiencing a skills-gap. Although many Egyptian universities graduate computer science professionals every year, tech companies still face difficulties in finding "job-ready" engineers. To transform information technology professionals into seasoned software engineers, Saleh is launching the Alumni Community Action Grant Project, “Geekfactory Programming Bootcamp.” Through ten-week courses, this initiative will position participants for exciting programming careers by focusing on three key pillars: technical skills, soft skills, and career preparation techniques.”



2017 ACAG

Alumni Implementer: Adel Takruri

Fulbright Grant Year: 2006

Field of Study: Public Health

Fulbright Grant Host Institution: Johns Hopkins University

Project name: Cancer Prevention & Palliative Care for Healthcare Professionals

Project Location: West Bank

Project Description: An expert in public health, Dr. Adel Takruri has noticed that little attention is paid to two important aspects of healthcare: disease prevention and palliative care (services for patients with chronic disease and their families). To bring awareness to these important topics, Dr. Takruri is implementing the Alumni Community Action Grant project, “Cancer Prevention & Palliative Care for Healthcare Professionals.” Through lectures and engaging group activities, this initiative will introduce healthcare professionals to innovative methods of preventing chronic disease and providing palliative care. In addition, the project will engage the surrounding community by inviting patients to share past experiences that they have had with medical professionals. Dr. Takruri’s primary goal is to bring awareness to the physical, psychosocial, and spiritual needs of people with terminal illnesses and their families.



2017 ACAG

Alumni Implementer: Salah Al Agha

Fulbright Grant Year: 1993

Field of Study: Industrial Engineering

Fulbright Grant Host Institution: Purdue University

Project name: Raising Awareness of Home Composting

Project Location: Gaza

Project Description: “Salah Al Agha is a professor of industrial engineering at Islamic University in Gaza. In an effort to increase the amount of organic waste that is recycled by Gazan households, his Alumni Community Action Grant project, “Raising Awareness of Home Composting,” will teach primary school students home composting techniques. The project will be implemented through workshops, printed materials, and videos, through which students will learn the importance of composting both as a waste reduction technique, and a fertilizer source. Students will take a hands-on approach to learning by participating in demonstrations on how to sort compostable material and begin the composting process.”



2017 ACAG

Alumni Implementer: Ziyad Ben Taleb

Fulbright Grant Year: 2010

Field of Study: Public Health

Fulbright Grant Host Institution: Florida International University

Project name: Be Smart Don't Start: Hookah Smoking Prevention Workshop

Project Location: Libya

Project Description: Ziyad Ben Taleb is a public health specialist with an extensive training in medicine. Being an expert in the field of smoking prevention and cessation, Dr. Ben Taleb recognizes the alarming increase in rates of hookah (water pipe) smoking among youth in Libya.  In response, Dr. Ben Taleb is implementing the Alumni Community Action Grant project titled, “Be Smart Don't Start: Hookah Smoking Prevention Workshop”. In collaboration with his colleagues in Libya, Dr. Ben Taleb will lead school-based hookah prevention workshops that will utilize music performances by local artists to convey anti-smoking messages to youth. This open-discussion method is designed to raise questions that will lead to an increased awareness about the negative health effects of hookah smoking, and will thus help dissuade Libyan youth from starting.  


Click here for more examples of ACAG projects in the MENA region! 



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