Impact of the Middle East Leadership Initiative

Through their required leadership venture, MELI Fellows explore how to leverage their talent, experience, and access to address major societal issues in the region. From providing employment opportunities to women Saudi Arabia to inspirining civic engagement among youth in Palestine, MELI Fellows are moving the needle their communities' most complex challenges. Here is just a sampling of the impactful leadership ventures that the MELI Fellows have launched during the course of their Fellowship journey:
Youth Local Councils - Lana Abu-Hijleh (Inaugural Class) 
Lana Abu-Hijleh started the Youth Local Councils (YLC’s) in Palestine. YCL’s  are elected bodies of young leaders, whose number and organization mirrors that of local elected governments. The YLC’s are convened, organized, elected, and administered by youth, who serve two-year terms in office. The youth identify problems in their communities and work together with stakeholders to devise solutions. To deepen their effectiveness, youth are given 300 hours of capacity development on topics such as project management, budgeting, negotiating, public speaking, and gain skills many of their local mayors don’t have. Youth learn and become invested in the democratic system and their communities, and get direct experience not only running for and holding elections, but actively working for change in the community. Lana, a Fellow of the inaugural MELI class, won the 2017 John P. McNulty Prize. See the case study of her leadership venture here.

Syria Direct - Amjad Tadros (Inaugural Class) 
There is a dire absence of objective reporting in Syria, prohibiting the rest of the world from understanding the complexities of a conflict that has so far claimed the lives of so many. Since conflict erupted in Syria in 2011, most major news organizations have been unable to adequately cover events due to the dangers posed to journalists in the country. Syria Direct, which was launched by Amjad Tadros, is creating a new class of young, determined journalists in Syria through its journalism training program in Amman, Jordan. The program involves 3 months of training in cohorts of 12 individuals at a time. The training involves 1 month of classroom modules followed by 2 months of direct on-the-job training in newsrooms working closely with Arab and American mentors, editors and reporters at Syria Direct. Amjad was chosen as a 2017 Laureate of the John P. McNulty Prize