Arab Youth Diaspora: Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom

Time Magazine Cover - Feb 2011

Last week the founders of Arab Development Initiative (@ADInitiative), a student initiative out of McGill, came and pitched their project at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
The idea is simple: connect Arab students among themselves at the Envision Arabia Summit and facilitate the creation of a network of youth interested in challenging development issues in the Arab world.

Another initiative specific to Egypt is happening later this year in Cambridge: Egypt NEGMA (@EgyptNegma). (Negma means “star” in Egyptian Arabic). This conference will bring together social entrepreneurs who would compete for seed funding to implement their project in Egypt.

And then of course there is the Harvard Arab Weekend happening in November across Harvard University (more on that one later!)

Whatever comes out of these initiatives, one thing is undeniable: after years of apathy, the revolution(s) have made us miss home and long for being part of the change.

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Ready, Set, …

Flights to Monrovia — check.
Raingear and malaria pills — check.
Copy of This Child Will be Great — check.
A ton of excitement — check, check, check!

So all that remains really is getting to Monrovia, Liberia where I will be spending 10 weeks of this summer interning with the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs (MPEA). MPEA is the lead agency in charge of coordinating aid as well as monitoring and evaluating externally supported projects. The ministry is also responsible of developing Liberia’s Medium Term Growth and Development Strategy, which will define development priorities and guide the government’s policies over the next five years (Liberia’s current Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) is set to expire this year).

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