AMIDEAST, Much More than a Language Institute [Archives:2004/762/Community]

August 9 2004
Edward Prados, Director of AMIDEASTs Aden branch
Edward Prados, Director of AMIDEASTs Aden branch
AMIDEAST'S in Sana'a and Aden are already well-known in Yemen for providing high-quality English language training. Our graduates go on to successful careers in business, are able to obtain the high TOEFL sources needed for international scholarships as well as the EL Teachers of Yemen's future.
Also well known is that AMIDEAST is the official and only TOEFL test center in Yemen. Our two offices are licensed and certified by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the maker of the TOEFL test. You can only take the real TOEFL test or the ITP TOEFL TEST at AMIDEAST owhere else! In addition to the TOEFL test AMIDEAST administers several other official tests which are needed for professional certification or study at universities in the United States and many other locales. These tests include the TOEIC, GRE, SAT, GMAT, and CLEP.
According to Edward Prados, Director of AMIDEAST's Aden branch, AMIDEAST's activities have expanded tremendously in the past year. Mr. Prados says, “AMIDEAST is much more than an English language institute and official testing center. AMIDEAST is an international, non-profit organization established in 1951 to help promote understanding between Arabs and Americans. We accomplish our mission through educational, training and development assistance programs. We have offices in eleven countries in the Middle East and North Africa – including the West Bank and Gaza, and our offices are operated by teams of Arabs and Americans working together in partnership. In Yemen, AMIDEAST have been operating since 1981 – almost 25 years, which is longer than almost any other NGO or language institute in the country.”
“In Yemen, we offer a variety of educational services-many free-that can benefit Yemeni students, scholars, and professionals. The following list is just a sampling of the many opportunities that Yemenis can take advantage of.

1. Scholarships.
On behalf of the U.S. government and other donors, AMIDEAST administers and announces a variety of scholarships for Yemeni students and scholars from the high school to the post-doctoral levels. These scholarships are open to everyone who has the proper qualifications, in fact, many of the scholarships programs actually look for people who might not have the same opportunities as those who live in the major cities. Among the scholarships offered are :

Youth Exchange and Studies (YES) Scholarship
This program enables secondary students between the ages of 15 and 17 to study for one full academic year in the United States. All expenses are paid for and students receive a monthly stipend as well. Students return with excellent English skills and self-confidence.

Partners for Learning Undergraduate Studies (PLUS) Scholarship
This grant enables college students to spend the last two years of university study in the United States. Eligible students are those who are studying in the faculties of arts and education. They complete bachelor degrees in the United States and the program also funds up to six months of English study in the U.S. for students who need to work on their language skills.

Canadian Nexen Scholarship
This program funds up to ten Yemeni students to earn an undergraduate university degree in petroleum related fields in Canada.

Fulbright Scholarship
The Fulbright student scholarship enables Yemeni university graduates to obtain a Master's Degree in the U.S. It fully funds up to two years of study and includes allowances for transportation, books and living. There are also Fulbright grants available for scholars who wish to teach or research in the U.S.

English Language Scholarships
A strong command of the English language is an essential prerequisite for many of these scholarship programs. Unfortunately, some find tuition fees for high-quality training too expensive. The good news is that AMIDEAST offers a variety of funded scholarships for locally-enrolled students who are unable to pay for full tuition themselves. These scholarships include EL training for professional women (Royal Netherlands Embassy), EL training for needy secondary school students (U.S. Embassy), and EL training for recent law graduates (Law Offices of Sheikh Tariq Abdullah).

2. Training Programs
AMIDEAST offers local and U.S.-based training programs for everyone from students to experienced professionals. All of these programs are competitive in nature and require an application process and personal interview.

AMIDEAST gives students enrolled in its EL program the chance to gain valuable work experience and real-world English practice in a variety of fields, including reception duties, administrative work, lab. supervision and tutoring.

Business Internship Program for Young Middle Eastern Women
This program, which is funded by the U.S. State Department's Middle East Partnership Initiative, is funding over forty women from throughout the Middle East to participate in MBA-level academic training and work in an internship with a major US company for three months. Candidates should have a degree in business or any undergraduate degree with a minimum of three years' work experience. Participants will gain valuable experience and knowledge and all relevant program expenses are paid for by the U.S. Government.

Middle East Entrepreneur training in the U.S. (MEET U.S.)
This program offers participants short-term training and internships in the U.S. Participants in this program should be more senior-level professionals with 5 to 20 years of experience in business and demonstrate entrepreneurial capacity. All programs related expenses are covered by the U.S. Government.

3. Development Assistance and Technical Training.
AMIDEAST has supported and implemented a number of development assistance and technical training programs. A sample of these programs includes :

E-Learning Project
With a grant from the U.S. government, AMIDEAST has implemented the establishment of ten Internet classrooms – five in Aden and five in Sana'a. Each classroom is equipped with ten networked computers, a server, laser printer, and multimedia projector and offers students enrolled in government schools the chance to access the Internet and the limitless resources that it offers for research and study. Schools equipped with e-learning classrooms will also build partnerships and bridges with schools in the United States, offering their students the chance to work on their English and develop new cross-cultural friendships.

Community Colleges
As part of a World Bank project, AMIDEAST helped with the establishment of two community colleges – one each in Sana'a and Aden. AMIDEAST provided EL training for future community teachers, helped administer their US-based training, and fielded American consultants to work on curriculum design for the colleges. AMIDEAST continues to help support the colleges in a number of ways, including book donations and the joint coordination of a U.S.-Government funded in English language teacher and fellow.

Training of Trainers
AMIDEAST has been involved with projects that train local trainers in Yemen in the fields of health, education, and statistics. Through these projects, AMIDEAST has trained over 800 trainers, who in turn have trained thousands of Yemenis to help with their nation's development and population capacity building.
According to Mr. Prados, “These scholarships, training, and development assistance programs are just some of the resources that AMIDEAST offers to qualified Yemenis. Many of these programs are free ut that doesn't mean that you don't need to work to get them. In fact, because they are free, they are competitive. This means you will need to submit an application (on time!), have good English skills, and be able to demonstrate how you will use your scholarship to benefit others, your community or company, and your country.”
“Although I am leaving shortly to continue higher studies in the U.S. I am sure that our new director, Mr. Frank Underhill, will continue and expand our activities in Aden. Mr. Underhill has a doctorate in Education and has lived and worked in Yemen before. He is looking forward to returning and helping AMIDEAST in its mission of administering scholarships and exchange programs, and providing high-quality English language training for citizens of Yemen.