Upload new images. The image library for this site will open in a new window.
Upload new documents. The document library for this site will open in a new window.
Show web part zones on the page. Web parts can be added to display dynamic content such as calendars or photo galleries.
Choose between different arrangements of page sections. Page layouts can be changed even after content has been added.
Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.
Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.
Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.
Accordion featurd turned on, click to turn off.
Change the way the image is cropped for this page layout.
Cycle through size options for this image or video.
Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.
Open the image pane in this body section. Click in the image pane to select an image from the image library.
Open the video pane in this body section. Click in the video pane to embed a video. Click ? for step-by-step instructions.
Remove the image from the media panel. This does not delete the image from the library.
Remove the video from the media panel.
Twenty-two students from the Middle East and North Africa took part in
UD's Student Leaders Program of the State Department's Middle East
Partnership Initiative (MEPI).
9:04 a.m., Aug. 28, 2012--I want to empower women by creating an
NGO [non-governmental organization] that would give opportunities to
women who depend on their husbands for financial help to make homemade
things and sell them in order to become more independent, says Rihame
Al Haiane from Morocco.
She is one of 22 students from the Middle East and North Africa
region who recently completed a six-week leadership program at the
University of Delaware that will have far-reaching impacts, as the
students put what theyve learned into action in their communities back
Funded by the U.S. State Departments Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs,
the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) brought more than 100
highly accomplished students to selected U.S. universities this summer
for its Student Leaders Program.
UD, through the Institute for Global Studies (IGS), has been a recipient of the MEPI grant every year since the programs inception in 2004.
Prof. Lesa Griffiths, who serves as the programs principal
investigator and senior mentor at UD, credits the programs success to
its thematic approaches and its linking of theory to practice.
This multi-disciplinary, integrated classroom approach, coupled with
volunteer experiences, has proven effective, Griffiths said. Aspects
of each theme also are reinforced by a study tour that takes students to
cultural centers across the U.S.
Four broad themes are presented by UD experts in political science,
communication, philosophy and business and economics, including
American Norms and Civic Engagement, National Culture Formation and
Transmission, Institutions, and Entrepreneurship, Innovation and
This year, the students participated in two dozen seminars covering
American government and elections, public opinion, philosophy, religion,
sports, the market system and entrepreneurship.
The seminars introduce students to some of the dimensions of the
diverse social and political culture of the United States, as well as
other topics that relate to the primary objectives of the MEPI program,
including pluralism and participation, notes James Magee, professor of
political science, who serves as the programs academic director.
Firsthand experiences in civics also inspire the students to develop their own ideas. Through a visit to Kingswood Community Center
in Wilmington, UDs MEPI students saw how individuals reach out to
those in need. The children enrolled in summer camp were enchanted to
interact with students from different parts of the world and vice versa.
In Audrey Helfmans class Developing a Civic Vision, peer mentor
and MEPI 2010 alumna Duaa Almeshqab from Bahrain showed a Powerpoint
highlighting posters made by previous MEPI participants. The current
students then began developing ideas for their own posters on how to
engage in civic activities in their homelands.
My role is to help guide them to understand themselves as potential
leaders, learn leadership skills and be able to go back to their home
countries to further engage in their community and grow as leaders,
says Helfman, associate professor in the School of Public Policy and
Administration and the programs leadership director since 2004.
We follow them on their project, to mentor them and continue to push
them to work in their communities and see themselves as active
participants in their societies. Later, we encourage them to partner
with an existing NGO so as to develop coalitions, she remarks.
Turning vision into reality
The students had different opinions on how to engage in civic duties
when they return home and spoke candidly about turning their vision into
Rihame Al Haiane, the student from Morocco initially studying economics and management, has changed her major to education.
I will be teaching this September at a primary school. We need to
see many changes in Morocco, but it will not come quickly, she
explains. I am more interested in the situation of women. Many girls do
not attend school in Morocco, and I would like to see this change.
She adds, This is my first time in the United States. It is a
lifetime experience, and I have learned so many things. It has been
Muhammad Hamed, a Palestinian student living in Nazareth, Israel, who
is studying medicine, has already started an NGO called the Mariam
Foundation, which helps Arab women stricken with cancer to become more
outspoken about the disease.
Many women are shy when it comes to speaking about breast cancer and
so with having workshops and events, many breast cancer survivors
publicly talk about their ordeal, and this helps other women in the
community to deal with this disease, he says.
On their last day at UD, the students presented their posters in
Pearson Hall, where they were recorded. In February 2013, when the
students and program leaders reunite at a location in the Middle East or
North Africa, the students will see how far theyve come in
implementing their ideas. They also will learn how to write a proposal
to apply for a grant from the U.S. State Department.
We have a robust alumni network consisting of students from all past
programs from various host institutions. These students have remained
involved with the University through civic engagement projects in their
home communities, pursuing MEPI small grants funding through our office
and finding creative ways to express their leadership abilities,
explains Jonathan Keyser of IGS, who has been involved in the
organization and logistics of the program since 2010.
Other mentors who helped facilitate the program this year were Ryan
McCabe, Rachel Garcia, Dustin Parrett, Caitlin Woglom and Max Kramer.
UD President Patrick Harker and his wife Emily hosted a dinner for
the students in their home, and the students met the mayor of Newark,
The students also went on a study tour that helped expand their
cultural understanding of America. It included a trip to Philadelphia,
with a tour of Independence Hall; the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado
Springs and a visit to the Rocky Mountains; Boston and Cambridge, and a
tour of Harvard and its Center for Middle Eastern Studies; and the Big
Apple, where students visited the United Nations.
To learn more, visit the MEPI program website.
Article by Fariba Amini
Photos by Fariba Amini and Evan Krape
Originally published by UDaily.
Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.