This spring saw the arrival of the third group of young professionals from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in a program managed by the Maxwell School’s Executive Education Office. The Leaders for Democracy Fellows (LDF) are supported by the U.S. State Department’s Middle East Partnership Initiative, and Syracuse University was chosen by the State Department as the program’s sole host institution.

Twenty individuals from twelve countries became an articulate and active presence at Maxwell during a five-week academic program that covered democracy, democratization, and civil society. They participated in specially designed sessions with Maxwell professors, other SU faculty, and guest presenters. MES students and faculty interacted with the fellows in academic forums such as conferences, panels, and informal discus- sion groups. The LDF group also had many occasions for social interaction with students and faculty.

After the academic program in Syracuse which lasted from March 16 to April 17, the LDF group spent eight weeks in Washington, D.C. for continued academic study, site visits, and internships in government and non-government organizations. They will return to their home countries with the goal of applying their new knowledge, experiences, and professional affiliations to help bring about democratic reform.

Meanwhile, most of the first and second group of LDF fellows came together in an alumni event held in Marrakech, Morocco from December 15 to 17, 2008.