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MES presents: Charlie Benjamin

341 Eggers Hall

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Practicing Social and Economic Development in the Middle East and North Africa: Introducing the new affiliation between SU and the Near East Foundation The Near East Foundation(NEF), an international non governmental organization founded in 1915, works with local organizations to improve the lives of communities in the Middle East and Africa experiencing the effects of chronic poverty, conflict, migration and/or climate change. They include marginalized social groups (young people in Morocco's peri-urban slums, residents of "poverty pockets" in rural Jordan), villages isolated by their environment (Berbers in Morocco's Atlas Mountains, Malians facing an encroaching desert and Egyptian farmers relocated from the Nile Delta), and settlements of refugees (Iraqis in Jordan, Palestinians in the West Bank and Darfurians in central Sudan). NEF helps its local partners participate more fully in the development of their countries by helping to amplify their collective voice through community organizing and institution building, to build knowledge to participate more fully in civic life through education and literacy programs, and to create economic opportunity through enterprise development, micro-credit, and improved agricultural and natural resource management. NEF has recently relocated to the Syracuse University campus through a strategic affiliation to bring the talent and creative energy of the university community to bear on the problems of these vulnerable communities.

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