Annual Highlights

In 2012, AMIDEAST:

  • Provided English language and professional skills training to over 67,400 students and professionals
  • Supported scholarship and exchange programs for nearly 2,200 individuals

  • Provided information on U.S. study to 125,000 individuals

  • Administered 156,500 computer-, paper- and Internet-based tests

  • Empowered more than 12,600 young men and women through special programs

AMIDEAST Education Abroad Programs Receive High Marks in 2013 Study Abroad Rankings

AMIDEAST ranked seventh among providers of study abroad programs for Americans and its Area & Arabic Language Studies Program in Rabat, Morocco, was rated fifth among single programs in the latest worldwide annual rankings issued by Abroad101, the oldest and largest study abroad review website. 

Abroad101’s “2013 Study Abroad Rankings” rated AMIDEAST’s Education Abroad Programs in the Arab World on the basis of its 18 programs in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, and Tunisia, which offer study and intensive language options.  They received an overall score of 4.6 out of 5, while its Rabat program received “five stars” from 19 out of 22 reviewers. The website noted that a student reviewer described the Rabat program as “challenging in all the right ways,” while another one noted, “The on-site staff in [sic] incredibly helpful, kind, and caring. Any problem that any of us had was taken care of promptly by the staff there.”

New Partnership to Offer Employability Training to Women in Five Countries

Ambassador Delphine Borione, Deputy Secretary General of the UfM, presided at the official launch of Skills for Success

A strategic new partnership with the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) is about to expand AMIDEAST’s efforts to advance the economic empowerment of women in the Middle East and North Africa.  AMIDEAST will soon offer “Skills for Success—Employability Skills for Women” in Jordan and Morocco with funding from the Norwegian government and the Flemish Department of Foreign Affairs. Implementation in Egypt, Lebanon, and Tunisia will follow, with a total of 450 women — 90 in each of the five countries — to be trained.  Endorsed by the UfM as a key component of its strategy to improve the socioeconomic situation of women in the Euro-Mediterranean region, the initiative was formally launched during the UfM’s Women’s Socio-Economic Empowerment: Projects for Progress conference, held March 26–27 at its Barcelona headquarters. 

AMIDEAST Regional Director for English Language Training Helena Simas previewed Skills for Success during the UfM’s launch of the initiative in Barcelona

High unemployment rates among youth in the Middle East and North Africa have attracted much attention. Less talked about is unemployment among the region’s young women—at 42 percent, nearly double the rate for young men — as well as the labor participation rate for women, which, at 25 percent, is the lowest in the world. Together, such indicators translate into a lack of economic opportunities that leaves young Arab women vulnerable to social and economic inequality.

To address this gender gap, AMIDEAST has adapted its Skills for Success™ program to strengthen the employability of disadvantaged Arab women who have completed secondary school.  For this new initiative, AMIDEAST draws on the success of other programs it has implemented, such as Women’s Individual and Social Empowerment (WISE) and the Arab Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP). 

AMIDEAST Country Director Dana Shuqom Receives “World of Difference” Award

Dana Shuqom accepts her award at the TIAW Global Forum, on March 26, 2014, in Washington, DC.

Dana Shuqom, AMIDEAST’s country director for Jordan, was honored by The International Alliance for Women (TIAW) for her efforts to advance women’s economic empowerment in Jordan. The TIAW awarded her its “World of Difference 100 Award” during its Global Forum, held March 26, 2014, in Washington, DC.  The award recognizes men and women who have advanced women’s issues, either on a local or global level. Recipients of the award include Cherie Blair a year ago and the first lady of Namibia this year. 

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AMIDEAST, Union for the Mediterranean Launch Employability Skills Initiative for Women in Five Arab Countries

Ms. Helena Simas, AMIDEAST Regional Director for English Language Programs, presents an overview of the Skills for Success program.

Washington, DC, March 26, 2014—AMIDEAST is pleased to announce the launch of a new partnership with the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) to provide employability skills training in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, and Tunisia. "Skills for Success–Employability Skills for Women" will specifically target disadvantaged women who have completed secondary school with training designed to improve their ability to enter and succeed in the workforce.

AMIDEAST Vice President for Business Development Vincent DeSomma (center) and representatives of the UfM and the Flemish Department of Foreign Affairs sign the agreement launching Skills for Success.

The launch of Skills for Success took place during the UfM's "Women's Socio-economic Empowerment: Projects for Progress" conference at its Barcelona headquarters on March 26-27, 2014. It included a formal signing of the agreement between AMIDEAST, the UfM, and the Flemish Department of Foreign Affairs, which will add to funds already provided for the program by the government of Norway. The program was also previewed in detail before the conference audience of some 250, including government representatives, development experts, officials of international organizations focusing on women's empowerment and gender equality, and others from the private sector and civil society.

Empowering a New Generation of Arab Women Entrepreneurs with Citi Foundation Support

Ameena Barakeh of Lebanon

AWEP alumnae are breaking new ground as they succeed as business owners meeting diverse needs.

Ameena Barekeh could well be one of Lebanon’s youngest entrepreneurs; she is definitely among Lebanese women who are taking up the challenge of starting their own businesses. Even in a country known for its entrepreneurial activity, Ameena’s startup success didn’t just happen. Nearly two years ago, she was selected for the Citi Foundation-funded Arab Women’s Entrepreneurship Project (AWEP). Over the ensuring months, she learned basic business skills and received the technical support, mentoring, and encouragement that were critical as she tried to implement a business plan developed during the “classroom” stage of the program to meet her goals. 

‘The Fate of the Region Depends on Its Young People’

English Access Microscholarship Programme students participate in a camp activity in Maan, Jordan.

AMMAN — Young people around the region can be a force for greater good or instability, and they need proper education and employment opportunities to assume their role as instigators of development, according to the head of a US NGO.

“Young people want to be well educated, want to have meaningful lives,” AMIDEAST President and CEO Theodore H. Kattouf told The Jordan Times in an interview.

“The fate of the region depends on its young people and whether they are a force for good or instability,” he stressed.

Kattouf said the regional unrest has had its effects on AMIDEAST, an NGO involved in education and training on employability skills, which has 20 offices in 12 Arab countries including Jordan.

“Some of our programmes are in demand more than ever before. We’ve had major regional entities come to us with employability skills projects that they wanted to fund and they wanted us to implement,” he said.

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Assessing the Region’s Educational Outlook

In a Nov. 16, 2012, speech, AMIDEAST President and CEO Theodore H. Kattouf underscored the vital role of education in ensuring a successful outcome of the revolutions in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa. Addressing the joint annual benefit of the National Arab American Medical Association (NAAMA) and Egyptians Abroad in Development (EAD) in Chicago, he said, “A bright future for the region is one in which its many young men and women are able to improve their life circumstances and realize their dreams of political and social inclusion. The region must create many more jobs, but it must also prepare youth to have English language, IT, and critical thinking skills required in a 21st century global economy that is increasingly knowledge-based and high tech.”

AWEP Project Advances Entrepreneurship among Arab Women

Women in the AWEP program in Lebanon listen attentively to trainer Jade Dagher.

In a little over a year, the Arab Women's Entrepreneurship Project (AWEP) — an AMIDEAST partnership with Citi Foundation to expand opportunities for entrepreneurship training for women in the Arab world — completed a first round of training and recently launched a second one. In all, nearly 150 women from six countries — Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, the UAE, Egypt and Jordan — are participating in these initial efforts, which are being implemented with generous support from Citi Foundation.

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