News Release: World Affairs Launches MENA Democracy Fellows Program, July 1, 2011



MENA Democracy Fellows Program to Support Democratic Transition in Egypt and Tunisia

The region's young leaders to work with American counterparts in professional internships to build expertise, capacity in governance, media, and economic development

Washington D.C. World Affairs announced today that it has launched the Middle East and North Africa Democracy Fellows Program to support the region's democratic transition. The program aims to provide emerging leaders with practical experience and skills needed to establish a more open, inclusive, and transparent democratic system and process.

The MENA Democracy Fellows will be selected competitively from among the men and women who are at the vanguard of the region's historic reform movement.

"Young people from across the region are struggling valiantly, and against great odds, to establish a new political and economic order," remarked James Denton, the publisher and editor of World Affairs. "They want to live in a politically free and economically prosperous country that is part of a modern and peaceful world. Given the historic opportunities and potential consequences of this struggle, we who live in the world's developed democracies have a moral obligation, as well as a direct self-interest, to offer our enthusiastic support. The MENA Fellows Program represents our contribution to this effort."

The MENA Democracy Fellows Program incorporates a practical, hands-on approach that acknowledges that while the participants will have a theoretical appreciation for how democratic and market-based economic systems function, they will lack practical experience in this arena given that, until now, they have been denied the opportunity. To bridge the "experience gap" between the theoretical and the "real world," the MENA Fellows will work alongside American counterparts in professional internships for two months to observe the day-to-day, inner workings of a democratic society's government, media, and economy--providing the participants with a practical experience that can be applied as they see fit upon their return home, adapting the lessons to local conditions and realities.

The program is also designed to deepen contacts between the emerging leaders of the MENA region with a counterpart at a media outlet (print, web, or broadcast) while a fellow in the economic development program will work in offices that develop or implement policies or projects designed to stimulate economic growth and employment through investment, trade, private-public partnerships, and entrepreneurial promotion.

In this initial phase of the program, only citizens from Egypt and Tunisia are eligible to participate. The first group of program participants is scheduled to arrive for their eight week program in Washington, D.C. in late September 2011. If additional funding is secured, and as conditions on the ground permit, World Affairs intends to expand the program.

The World Affairs journal, the sponsor of the MENA Democracy Fellows Program, is a bimonthly print journal focusing on international affairs and security issues. Founded in 1837, the journal has been published continuously, initially in Boston and now in Washington DC. The web edition of the journal, which can be found at WorldAffairsJournal.org, features continuously updated daily international news from media outlets around the world. Commentary is also offered in weekly blogs written by leading international opinion makers, among them are Alaa Al Aswany who writes on Egypt, Michael Zantovsky on Europe, Vladimir Kara-Murza on Russia, and Gordon Chang on China.

Funds for the MENA Program are provided by the World Affairs Institute, publisher of World Affairs. WAI is a tax-exempt 501c3 organization which promotes the strengthening and expansion of democratic governance through publications and programs.

A description and an application for the MENA Democracy Fellows Program can be found here.

For further information information, contact Caroline Lalonde at CLalonde@WorldAffairsJournal.org.