Exed to Host 20 Emerging Leaders from Middle East

ldf-introTwenty emerging leaders from 12 countries in the Middle East arrived at the Maxwell School today as part of the Leaders for Democracy Fellows program funded by the U.S. Department of State's Middle East Partnership Initiative. The program, now in its second year with plans for a third underway, brings these individuals to the United States for a six-week fellowship at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University to study the foundations of democracy before participating in six-week internships in Washington, DC. The goal of the program is to send the participants, eight men and 12 women ranging in age from 23 to 41, home with new knowledge and skills to help foster positive democratic change in their countries.

The group includes professionals in the fields of public administration, human rights, conflict resolution, marketing, business marketing, business finance, political analysis/research, marketing and management law, business administration, computer science, public health, and public relations/development.
While at the Maxwell School from March 17 through April 25, the Fellows -- representing Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, the Palestinian Territories, Qatar, Tunisia, and Yemen -- will participate in classes, lectures, panel discussions, and simulations. The academic program will focus on comparative politics and the development of democratic institutions; leading and managing the democratic state; and citizenship, private action and private enterprise. The internships in Washington will provide the opportunity for participants to work in organizations that match their professional interests and provide a grassroots view of democracy in action.

Last year’s Fellows, who returned to work in their home countries in May, remain in contact with one another and with their host organizations in the U.S. Six men and women performed their internships in Syracuse, working with the Post Standard, Vera House, the United Way, the U.S. Green Building Council, and Onondaga County. The entire group gathered recently in Cairo for its first alumni meeting.

The Leaders for Democracy Fellowship program is part of the State Department's Middle East Partnership Initiative, launched in 2002 to support democracy promotion, economic reform, quality education and women's empowerment in the Middle East.