Young Entrepreneurs Compete for DreamUp Grants in Morocco

Chaimaa Radi_20_Cosmetics

On Saturday, May 20th, Moroccan youth looking to expand or start a new business will compete for small business grants in the Machrou3i DreamUp competition. The competition is organized by the Machrou3i Business Incubators, created through the Near East Foundation’s (NEF) Empowering Youth through Entrepreneurship in Morocco (EYEM) project funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI).

Youth in the competition have participated in training and coaching events organized by the Machrou3i incubators to develop their business plans. In the final competition, eight youth will have the opportunity launch their plans with the help of a $2000 project grant, along with ongoing mentoring and coaching through the incubators. Selections will be made by a committee based on a number of criteria including the level of innovation presented in the business concept, the ability of the business to introduce new technologies, well-defined social or environmental benefits, and the ability of the business to eventually create new jobs. 

The DreamUp competition is complemented by a showcase event featuring youth entrepreneurs and businesses launched through the EYEM project.  Organized in partnership Province of El Jadida National Initiative for Human Development, the showcase event in El Jadida (May 19-21, 2017) allows young entrepreneurs to present their products and services to potential customers as well as network with fellow business owners. 

Both events aim to promote the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation among young people in Morocco and to inform young people on the advantages of business incubators and their role in regional youth economic development.

The EYEM project has reached more than 3000 youth in its efforts to promote the spirit of entrepreneurship, provided business development training to more than 349 young people, and funded 251 new businesses with start up assistance.

 

Women Empowering Women

On September 15, 2016 NEF held its first women empowering women event in New York City.  The event was co-hosted by Linda Jacobs, NEF board member, and the American Task Force for Lebanon.

Remarks were given by Michaela Walsh, the founding president of Women’s World Banking who discussed the amazing things she has seen women accomplish with finite resources, and explained that when we as women lift each other up, our reach is limitless.

Jinane Abou Zeki, NEF’s project lead in Lebanon, gave a presentation on how NEF is helping both Syrian refugee and Lebanese women achieve some level of financial security for themselves and their families. She discussed the holistic approach that NEF takes to help women start income generating activities through life skills and financial literacy, business development and vocational training, start-up cash assistance, and networking and social inclusion platforms.

Jinane, a native of Lebanon, took attendees through the difficult journey of Syrian refugees and the Lebanese communities that are taking them in. This includes dangerously overcrowded living conditions, barriers to legal employment, and access to schooling for refugee children. This is compounded by the societal barriers that women face as they increasingly take on the role of primary income earner for the families.

Sharing that current statistics show that 1 in 5 people in Lebanon is a Syrian refugee with over 1 million Syrian refugees currently displaced in the country, Jinane expressed the importance of the work NEF is doing there and the need to help more women looking for support.

There was great interest by the women in attendance as to how they can take action to help improve the lives of more women who need our help.

The following ideas were discussed:

  • Investing in NEF’s work with a tax-deductible donation, so that NEF can continue its work and reach more women in need
  • Hosting an event to introduce NEF’s work to your friends, family, colleagues, and acquaintances
  • Being a “connector” by introducing NEF to other foundations or organizations that you are involved with that could present interesting partnership or funding opportunities
  • Asking NEF to organize a work place challenge at your place of employment to raise money to support NEF’s work
  • Piloting a person-to-person matching program that would match women in the US with women in Lebanon and Jordan for knowledge sharing and potential sponsorship for their home-based economic activities

Thank you from NEF to the incredibly passionate and action oriented women who attended the event. NEF looks forward to following up on all the great suggestions provided.  

For anyone interested in joining our “Women Empowering Women” mailing list to receive updates on action items and on NEF’s work with women and adolescent girls, please contact ksheehan@neareast.org. 

Click below to view photos from the event and the videos that were shown during the program.

NEF's Women Empowering Women Event

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Upcoming Event: NEF and Princeton University Present…

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FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2016, 4:30 PM
PRINCETON UNIVERSITY, PEYTON 145 LECTURE HALL 
Forecasting the long term impacts and solutions to address the millions of Syrians who have been displaced by conflict will be the focus this panel discussion hosted by Princeton University’s Near East Studies program and the Near East Foundation (NEF).

Panelists will examine the Syrian conflict and how it is affecting the overall landscape of the Middle East from their varied perspectives and focuses.

For questions or additional details please contact ksheehan@neareast.org. Follow updates on the event on Facebook and Twitter.


MODERATOR

DSCN4235 - Copy
Director, Program of Near Eastern
Studies at Princeton University

Cyrus Schayegh (PhD, Columbia University, 2004) is Associate Professor at the department for Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University. In 2005-8, he was assistant professor at the American University of Beirut. He has authored Who Is Knowledgeable, Is Strong: Science, Class, and the Formation of Modern Iranian Society, 1900-1950 (California University Press, 2009) and The Middle East and the Making of the Modern World (Harvard University Press, forthcoming); and co-edited A Global Middle East: Mobility, Materiality and Culture in the Modern Age, 1880-1940 (Tauris, 2014) and The Routledge History Handbook of the Middle East Mandates (Routledge, 2015). His current main project, “Globalization meets decolonization: the urban linkage, 1940s-1970s,” focuses on Beirut, Dakar and Singapore.


 

PANELISTS

Charlie
Charles Benjamin
President, Near East Foundation

 

Dr. Benjamin has over twenty-five years of experience in international development, with extensive experience in community development and natural resources management though the Middle East and Africa. He began his affiliation with the Near East Foundation in 1993 as Country Director in Morocco. Before joining NEF he spent several years in Morocco as a Fulbright Scholar and as a Peace Corps Volunteer. After leaving Morocco, Dr. Benjamin was Senior Manager for a large international development consulting firm based in Washington DC and a Professor of International Environment Issues and Development at Williams College in Williamstown (MA).

Follow him on Twitter at @NearEastFdn.


 


Sherine Tadros
Head of NY UN office for Amnesty International

Sherine Tadros is an award-winning former Middle East correspondent for Sky News and Al Jazeera English. She covered the political turmoil in Lebanon in 2007, during which time she was based in Beruit and traveled frequently to Syria. She was one of only two foreign journalists inside Gaza during the Israeli war on the Strip in 2008-09; her work earned her several award nominations, including an Emmy. She was honored with a Peabody Award in 2011 for her reporting on the Arab uprisings in Egypt, Yemen and Libya. In May 2014, she joined Sky News as the Middle East correspondent based in Cairo, and reported regularly from Iraq, Tunisia and Southern Turkey. She joined Amnesty International in June.

Follow her on Twitter at @SherineT.


 

Firas Kayal
Firas Kayal 
Senior Policy Advisor, UNHCR
Office in New York

Mr. Firas Kayal’s service with the UNHCR spans for almost 15 years and includes working as a Legal Protection Officer in many countries including Iraq, Yemen, the Gulf Region, Sri Lanka, Sudan, and Switzerland. His last position was in UNHCR’s headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, where he headed the External Relations Unite at Middle East and North Africa Bureau for almost five years. Mr. Kayal works closely with diplomatic missions, donor countries, other UN agencies and international organizations on matters related to public and government relations, public and private fundraising as well as media relations. Firas holds a B.A. in Law from Damascus University and a Masters in International Law (LLM) from the School of Law at Washington University in St. Louis, USA. He is also a Fulbright Scholar.  

Follow him on Twitter at @KayalFiras.


 

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 1: Huffington Post editor Charlotte Alfred poses for a portrait in New York, Wednesday April 1, 2015. (Photo by Damon Dahlen, Huffington Post) *** Local Caption ***
Charlotte Alfred
Managing Editor, Refugees Deeply

Charlotte Alfred is managing editor of Refugees Deeply, a platform providing in-depth coverage and analysis of the global refugee crisis and forced migration from the award-winning new media company News Deeply. Before joining Refugees Deeply, Charlotte was a world news reporter at The Huffington Post, where she mostly covered stories in sub-Saharan Africa and Yemen. She previously worked as an associate producer on documentaries for PBS Frontline and spent three years in the West Bank as English editor of the independent Palestinian news site Ma’an News Agency.

Follow her on Twitter at @charlottealfred.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aurora Humanitarian Initiative and NEF Gratitude Scholarship Program: What is the UWC Experience?

This September, applications for the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative and NEF Gratitude Scholarship Program will open for promising youth in the Middle East who are looking for a transformative educational experience at one of six United World College (UWC) schools in the September 2017 academic year.

UWC as a movement operates on three pillars: multiculturalism, peace, and environmentalism. Its mission is to provide a life-changing educational experience to a diverse cross-section of students to inspire them to create a more peaceful and sustainable future. The unique curriculum at UWC schools provides a well-rounded approach that pairs traditional academic coursework with creative action-oriented service opportunities. 

Campus life is a significant part of the UWC experience and is greatly influenced by the culture of the geographic locations in which each of its schools are located. This gives students the opportunity to learn about a different culture through their new surroundings as well as from a diverse community of classmates, faculty, and staff.

UWC’s alumni body is an impressive group of dynamic individuals, many of who attribute their success back to their tenure at a UWC school or college. To hear them speak of their time at their respective UWC alma maters is to understand how profoundly their experience influenced who they are today.

In a letter for UWC’s Impact Stories, Ruddy Ndina, alumnus of UWC Waterford Kamhlaba, discussed his experience as a refugee who fled the Democratic Republic of Congo with his family after war erupted in the late ’90s. After living in Mpaka refugee camp in Swaziland for over seven years in harsh living conditions, options for this future seemed limited. However, Ruddy’s parents were determined to see him succeed and instilled in him and his siblings a drive and determination that allowed Ruddy to excel academically and receive a scholarship to attend UWC Waterford Kamhlaba. When reflecting on his experience, Ruddy said:

“My time at Waterford was very transformative as it provided the platform to develop my academic and leadership skills whilst also contributing to the development of my community. I served in various leadership roles; however, the most meaningful experience for me was participating in the Mpaka Refugee Camp Community Service Project. This project was very close to my heart, especially because I once lived in that refugee camp and I could directly relate to some of their pains and struggles. The kids at the camp generally viewed me as a “big brother” and I was excited to inspire a deeper sense of appreciation for academics and leadership development.”

At the letter’s conclusion Ruddy emphasized, “My story is about empowerment and the trickling effect of UWC generosity in helping refugee students overcome their challenges and pursue a better life, just like every other “normal person.”  You can read Ruddy’s full story here.

Ruth Buttigieg, from Malta, graduated from UWC Adriatic, Italy in 2008 and went on to receive her MSc in public health nutrition from Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh. She is now living in Edinburgh, Scotland and works as a specialist in ketogenic diets for the management of diabetes, epilepsy, and cancer while studying for a PhD in nutrition at Queen Margaret University, investigating the role of dietary polyphenols in healthy aging.  Of her UWC experience Ruth had this to say: “My favourite UWC memory is of Easter during my first year there. It was the first time I spent Easter away from home and the idea of not having an Easter lunch was quite saddening. So, my friends and I decided to prepare our very own version of Easter lunch. It was the most random and most memorable Easter I had. At the table we were Catholics, Muslims, Atheists, Jews, Orthodox, Hindus, Buddhists, etc., yet we all sat together, ate and discussed each of our traditions. I’ll cherish that memory forever because it showed me that if you respect each other’s beliefs, then conflict can truly be a thing of the past.”

Another alumnus and former UWC International Board Chair Christian Hodeige spoke of his time at UWC Pear College, saying, “Certainly the idea of people being able to live together from totally different backgrounds, upbringings, religions, ethics, and political histories really blew my mind. One of the biggest gifts from UWC is the knowledge that multicultural living works. I am able to counter people who say that if we live in conflict, we must segregate each other. I think this knowledge, no matter how strenuous it was at the time, stays with you.” In regard to the learning environment Christian said, “My favorite times at college were the village meetings and the theory of knowledge courses. At the village meetings all teachers, all students, all staff could have their view. There was a lot of healthy debate, which created a very free and incredibly encouraging environment.”

To learn more about UWC schools and colleges and how to apply visit, www.uwc.org.

The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative and NEF Gratitude Scholarship Program was developed jointly by the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative and NEF to express gratitude on behalf of the global Armenian community. It will provide 100 academic scholarships over the next eight years to at-risk youth from the Arab Middle East who have been affected by conflict, displacement, and poverty. This year, selected youth will have the opportunity to receive a world-class education at the following participating United World College (UWC) schools:

UWC Dilijan (Dilijian, Armenia)
UWC Robert Bosch (Freiburg, Germany)
UWC Red Cross Nordic (Flekke, Norway)
UWC Maastricht (Maastricht, Netherlands)
UWC Adriatic College (Duino, Italy)
UWC Mahindra College (Pune, India)

Applicants from the following countries will be eligible to receive a scholarship for the 2017 academic year: Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Jordan, and Egypt. NEF is encouraging youth who meet the established criteria to pursue the application process for the scholarship in the participating countries, which will be available in the Fall of 2016.

Eligibility criteria includes the following:

•  16-17 years old by September of the entry year
•  High academic performance or potential
•  Basic knowledge of the English language
•  Comes from an underprivileged and/or at-risk group (refugee, orphan, or someone who comes from a marginalized background as recognized by the UWC national committee).

 

Презентация PowerPoint

The program will be administered through the Scholae Mundi Foundation, which aims to provide students with opportunities to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to contribute to the international community and catalyze social change.  http://www.scholae-mundi.org/en/ 

About Aurora Humanitarian Initiative
The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative is committed to building a board, global humanitarian movement. The initiative is rooted in inspiring stories of courage and survival that emerged during the Armenian Genocide, when 1.5 million Armenians perished. Those fortunate few who survived were saved by the courageous and heroic acts of institutions and individuals who intervened, at great risk. A century later, the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative seeks to express gratitude, share remarkable stories of survivors and their saviors, and celebrate the strength of the human spirit. 

About UWC Movement

UWC makes education a force to unite peoples, nations, and cultures for peace and a sustainable future. To achieve, this UWC deliberately selects students of different ethnicities, religions, nationalities and socio-economic backgrounds. Selection for UWC is based on merit by selection committees in more than 150 countries. This unique and challenging education model places a high value on experiential learning, to prepare students for future roles in community leadership. Founded in 1962, UWC now has 15 schools and colleges on five continents, the majority of these are two-year residential colleges following the International Baccalaureate Diploma, a qualification UWC played a major part in developing. Currently, 75% of UWC students receive either full or partial financial assistance. UWC also has a network of short courses, often held in regions of political, economic, ethnic or environmental tension on themes such as conflict management or environmental awareness. The UWC movement aims to inspire a lifelong commitment to social responsibility and to creating a global fellowship for international understanding among its alumni, now numbering more than 50,000. 

For more information contact the UWC National Committees for each of the participating countries:
Syria
info@sy.uwc.org
http://www.sy.uwc.org

Lebanon
uwclebanon@gmail.com
http://www.lb.uwc.org/

Palestine Refugees In Lebanon
uwcpalestine.lebanon@gmail.com

Palestine
info@palestine.uwc.org
http://www.ps.uwc.org

Israel
roeishillel@gmail.com
http://www.il.uwc.org

Jordan
suhajouaneh@gmail.com

Egypt
Info@eg.uwc.org
http://www.eg.uwc.org  

Screen Shot 2016-10-12 at 11.58.29 AM near+east  UWC-Logo mundi+logo idea

 

The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative and Near East Foundation Gratitude Scholarship Program

Valued at nearly $7 million, the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative and Near East Foundation Gratitude Scholarship Program will provide 100 academic scholarships, over the next 8 years, to at-risk youth from the Arab Middle East who have been affected by conflict, displacement, and poverty. The scholarships will provide selected youth the opportunity to receive an international level education at the United World College (UWC) network of schools around the world, including in Armenia-based UWC Dilijan—an international co-educational boarding school currently hosting students from over 60 countries.

The application process for 2016 enrollment is currently closed. The application process for the academic year commencing in September 2017 will open between September and October of 2016 and will continue into mid February of 2017. The applicants from the following countries will be eligible to receive the scholarships for the current academic year: Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Jordan, and Egypt.  NEF is encouraging youth who meet the established criteria to pursue the application process for the scholarship in the participating countries in which they work beginning in the Fall of 2016.

Eligibility criteria includes the following:

•  16-17 years old by September 1, 2016
•  High Academic Performance
•  Proficient English
•  Identifies with at least one of the following:
          · Is a refugee or displaced person
          · Has endured the loss of one or more caretakers
          · Has or is living in extreme poverty

As its name indicates, the Gratitude Scholarship program was developed jointly by the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative and NEF to express gratitude on behalf of the global Armenian community to the people of the Middle East who offered shelter and food to those displaced by the Armenian Genocide over a century ago.

Just like 100 years ago, children are the most vulnerable victims of present-day turmoil in the Middle East. The majority of children displaced by war and poverty have no access to education. UNICEF estimates that there are more than two million out-of-school children in Syria, in addition to 700,000 Syrian refugee children in neighboring countries. 

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“We are proud to be able to help parents experiencing great hardship and uncertainty to secure a better future for their children, as our parents and grandparents were able to do for us,” says Ruben Vardanyan, co-founder of 100 LIVES. “It is with great pride that we announce our partnership with the Near East Foundation, and with eager anticipation that we look to identify the scholarship recipients.” 
 
NEF President, Dr. Charles Benjamin shares Mr. Vardanyan’s enthusiasm, saying at NEF’s October Centennial Gala that, “The Near East Foundation is proud to celebrate its centennial anniversary by enabling a hundred driven and in-need students to receive a world-class education. We are excited to join 100 Lives in rewarding talented students and future leaders with the opportunity to excel and succeed.”

Презентация PowerPoint

The program will be administered through the Scholae Mundi Foundation, which aims to provide students with opportunities to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to contribute to the international community and catalyze social change.  http://www.scholae-mundi.org/en/ 

About 100 LIVES
The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative is committed to building a broad, global humanitarian movement. The initiative is rooted in inspiring stories of courage and survival that emerged during the Armenian Genocide, when 1.5 million Armenians perished. Those fortunate few who survived were saved by the courageous and heroic acts of institutions and individuals who intervened, at great risk. A century later, the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative seeks to express gratitude, share remarkable stories of survivors and their saviors, and celebrate the strength of the human spirit. 

About UWC Movement
UWC makes education a force to unite peoples, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future. To achieve, this UWC deliberately selects students of different ethnicities, religions, nationalities and socio-economic backgrounds. Selection for UWC is based on merit by selection committees in more than 150 countries. This unique and challenging education model places a high value on experiential learning, to prepare students for future roles in community leadership. Founded in 1962, UWC now has 15 schools and colleges on five continents, the majority of these are two-year residential colleges following the International Baccalaureate Diploma, a qualification UWC played a major part in developing. Currently, 75% of UWC students receive either full or partial financial assistance. UWC also has a network of short courses, often held in regions of political, economic, ethnic or environmental tension on themes such as conflict management or environmental awareness. The UWC movement aims to inspire a lifelong commitment to social responsibility and to creating a global fellowship for international understanding among its alumni, now numbering more than 50,000. 

For more information contact the UWC National Committees for each of the participating countries:
Syria
info@sy.uwc.org
http://www.sy.uwc.org

Lebanon
uwclebanon@gmail.com
http://www.lb.uwc.org/

Palestine Refugees In Lebanon
uwcpalestine.lebanon@gmail.com

Palestine
info@palestine.uwc.org
http://www.ps.uwc.org

Israel
roeishillel@gmail.com
http://www.il.uwc.org

Jordan
suhajouaneh@gmail.com

Egypt
Info@eg.uwc.org
http://www.eg.uwc.org 

Screen Shot 2016-10-12 at 11.58.29 AM near+east UWC-Logo mundi+logo idea