The Center for Civic Engagement and Community Service (CCECS) at the American University of Beirut (AUB) and its Tomorrow's Leaders Graduate Program (TLG), sponsored by the U.S. Department of State's Middle East Partnership Initiative's (MEPI) is proud to announce its first successful co-curricular project, “A Civic Leadership Development Sequence". The project aimed to equip TLG scholars with relevant knowledge, skills, and commitment required to enact impactful and sustainable change in their communities, nations, and beyond. AUB's CCECS and MEPI-TLG created a multi-faceted Civic Action Plan (CAP) framework to engage participants in customized process that consists of meetings, research, site visits, community service, internships and a final project presentation throughout the course of their academic program.
AUB's MEPI-TLG scholars are the first cohort of nine graduates who will complete their master's program of studies in 2021. The scholars with diverse backgrounds were divided into three groups focusing on key themes, namely: A) Economic Development; B) Psychosocial Support in Conflict Zones; and C) Women's Empowerment.
The first workshop entitled “Overview of CAP Framework – Situation Analysis & Identifying Problematic" was held on January 7-8, 2020 at AUB's Reynolds Hall. Several MEPI-TLG representatives were in attendance, Dr. Rabih Talhouk, Director of MEPI-TLG and Ms. Farah Moukaddem, Project Coordinator. CCECS' members, Ms. Brooke Atherton El-Amine, Ms. Sarah Kouzi and Mr. Rabih Hajaig facilitated the event. The workshop was of an interactive nature and included case studies, group work focusing on components of CAP and practicing concepts and learning skills. The students worked on their group themes and identified the next steps necessary for conducting their situational analysis.
Overall, the students enjoyed this interactive experience and gave positive testimonials. “The workshop was very smooth and informative. The teamwork and interaction among the groups is getting more fruitful by time" from one scholar. Another participant commented, “The workshop offered me an opportunity to develop new skills and gain more knowledge in serving communities through videos and photos that we analyzed in interactive group settings". A third student said, “The workshop taught us how to engage respectfully in diverse communities, and how to brainstorm to come up with ideas among the group".
In closing, the two-day workshop was eventful and noteworthy for AUB's first MEPI-TLG cohort. We look forward to working with CCECS on the upcoming component phase of the CAP project.